Investment advisers at credit unions and CUSOs are familiar with the litany of visits, e-mails and calls from providers, but those frequent contacts may not yield long-term relationships.That is one of the findings from Cogent Research’s Adviser Touchpoints report, which explored the frequency, combination and effectiveness of product providers’ outreach efforts. Cogent surveyed 1,529 advisers in the United States with a minimum of $5 million in assets currently under management.The report found that the advisers manage an average of 14 product-provider relationships and receive more than 100 e-mails, mailings, wholesaler visits and sales calls each month. Cogent asked about eight different common strategies and the impact of each in generating advisers’ brand loyalty. Those strategies included in-person wholesaler visits, phone calls from internal wholesalers, e-mails, print mailings, Webinar invitations, mass media advertising campaigns and public relations outreach.“Clearly, when it comes to outreach strategies, it’s not only about quantity. It’s also about quality,” said Cogent principal and co-founder John Meunier. “Over the past year, firms that brought real ideas to the table, from both a product and practice standpoint, have been rewarded with a stronger bond to the advisers they serve.”Advisers tended to favor tailored strategies that met their specific needs, and electronic communications over phone calls and visits, especially for sales ideas and monitoring product performance, the data showed. Many were also open to Webinars to learn about new product information and business-building strategies.“Right now, for example, providers are jockeying for the attention of the fast-growing [registered investment adviser] segment. However, our research shows it would be a mistake to simply deploy a traditional communication strategy with this group,” cautioned Carrie Merrick, senior analyst and author of the Cogent study.The same may hold true for mutual fund companies. A July Cogent survey of 1,500 advisers about their perceptions of mutual fund providers found that most funds have fallen short in addressing the things that matter the most to advisers. Of 34 firms ranked in the report, 27 got “below average” ratings on their ability to demonstrate integrity and honesty. Twenty-three got below-average scores on expressing investment philosophy and management style, and 22 came in below average on advisers’ perceptions of their financial stability.“In the last 12 months, advisers have been going back to basics,” says Tony Ferreira, managing director with Cogent.Consistency of fund performance, track records of five years or longer, and fees and expenses lead advisors’ list of considerations when looking at a fund company. Ferreira called these attributes “table stakes” and said the true drivers of brand loyalty make the difference.–[email protected]

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