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Asset managers are using artificial intelligence to reach financial advisors

Abstract:As investors flee actively-managed, higher revenue products in favor of passive funds, asset managers need a smarter sales strategy than cold calls.

  Asset managers are trying more creative and tech-enabled ways to pitch financial advisors, who control $6 trillion of client money in North America. WisdomTree, a $57.2 billion asset manager, found success using artificial intelligence to reshape how its sales team reached out to brokers. For example, just 20% of a random group of financial advisors responded to a cold call about a product, but that percentage tripled when salespeople used a list of specific advisor targets generated by big data techniques. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.Financial advisors receive more than 50 cold calls a week from asset managers pitching a variety of products. It's not surprising that these funds struggle to stand out from the crowd.WisdomTree is trying to fix that. The asset manager is integrating big data techniques and new technologies to target specific advisors who might be interested in particular products. Early results have been promising so far, the firm's former head of data intelligence and strategy Peter Watson said this week at the Digital Wealth Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Financial advisors control $6 trillion in North America alone, according to a McKinsey study last month. As investors flee actively-managed, higher revenue products in favor of passive funds, asset managers need a smarter sales strategy than the cold calls and steak dinners of the past, executives said. See more: Vanguard's CEO just revealed it's in the early stages of building a new tech platform for wealth advisors as it goes head-to-head with BlackRock's Aladdin$57.2 billion WisdomTree piloted using an artificial intelligence-driven list of financial advisors who, per multiple data metrics, seemed much more receptive to particular products. Half of a sales group pitched that list, while the other half used a randomly-generated list. The group that used the artificial intelligence-generated list talked to about two-thirds of their target advisors, whereas those calling random names talked to only 20%. “It's not 100% for sure, but certainly using some of the trigger-based things as well as the data we had on people enabled us to significantly improve the quality of our outbound calls,” Watson said.In a separate effort, he said that the firm used segmented email campaigns to better target advisors. If someone engaged around a specific subject, WisdomTree identified the next email campaigns they were likely to be interested in, which increased email engagement by 130%. Meanwhile, Nuveen, the $989 billion asset manager, built a tool to both help advisors and feed more data back to its sales team. The firm created a platform for advisors to compare funds, both from Nuveen and from other managers, said Natalie Rubenoff, the firm's customer experience manager in digital strategy.Right now, the platform can send aggregated data on which funds are being compared – and therefore which might be particularly hot – back to the sales team. Longer term, the sales team could see what individual advisors are comparing and call them about those products.“I really think not only does it provide valuable data to the firm, it also provides valuable data to the advisor,” Rubenoff said. Read more:BlackRock-backed iCapital is teaming up with Nasdaq to create a private equity fund selling platform for wealthy investorsAs asset-management growth grinds to a halt, firms have to get creative. Here are the 3 avenues analysts say will best boost revenue.Almost half of Americans haven't put a dime toward retirement. BlackRock's president breaks down how technology can help.BlackRock is banking on a business that could reach $12 trillion in the next five years, according to its CEO

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