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Distribution, personalisation and ETFs dominate US asset managers’ priorities for 2023: Cerulli Associates 

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The top-three priorities for asset managers this year include broadening product distribution, increasing their ability to offer personalised investment solutions, and creating new investment vehicles, according to Cerulli Associates.

Asset managers remain focused on expanding their distribution into new adviser segments and channels—85 per cent of asset managers identify broadening product distribution as their top priority this year. As assets and headcount continue to swell at independent and hybrid registered investment advisors (RIAs), asset managers are focused on dedicating the appropriate resources to these channels, Cerulli writes. 

Asset managers also are focused on rolling out customised investment solutions, as indicated by 50 per cent of executives. While equity direct indexing has received much of the personalization buzz over the last few years, asset managers are not limiting personalisation efforts to equities. “As more advisers look to add personalisation to their practices, being able to personalise beyond just equities through a multi-asset-class solution will become an important capability for managers touting personalisation and customisation,” says Matt Belnap, associate director.  

Creating new vehicles remains an important goal for nearly half (46 per cent) of asset managers. In terms of product priorities, nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of asset managers say active exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a top priority for their firm to develop this year. 

“The relative tax advantages of the vehicle, combined with increased adviser comfort with ETFs in client portfolios, make active ETFs an attractive proposition for asset managers,” says Belnap. “Still, the active ETF presents untrodden ground for many managers, requiring substantial work.” 

Model-delivered separate accounts (50 per cent), interval funds (46 per cent), and CITs (42 per cent) are not far behind, according to the research. “While interest in these types of products could be managers just looking to add where they currently have gaps in their line-up, careful consideration of whether there is appetite for these types of products at distribution partners will lead to a better chance of success for asset managers when they do come to market,” concludes Belnap.

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