Year-end 2015 closed out a quarter of elevated market volatility and falling asset prices in the traditional asset management industry. The year was marked by a rising flight to passive strategies and overall falling net inflows that pressured margins, causing many managers to take a hard look at their expenses and compensation structures going into 2016. Looking ahead, traditional asset managers are also facing headwinds from a slowdown in the global market, and a subdued (but cautiously optimistic) outlook at home. As we did last quarter, we take a look at pacemakers in the traditional asset management industry and outline four key themes we believe are expected to define 2016.
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Much like Porsche discovered fifty years ago, many banks are responding to regulatory changes by opting for a hybrid model that pairs trust and wealth management operations with traditional banking. The advantages of banks developing their investment management operations are pretty easy to see: it produces a more stable and diverse revenue stream, it provides more touch points for customer relationships, and it can substantially improve a bank’s return on equity.
Of course, opportunity is a two way street, and banks looking to venture into investment management, especially by acquisition, typically encounter a couple of major obstacles: balance sheet dilution and culture clash. Both of these challenges arise from the main difference between traditional banking and asset management. Whereas banking is asset heavy and personnel light, asset management requires not much of a balance sheet, but plenty of expensive staffing. It’s a significant difference that can only be managed head on.
Last week, Brooks Hamner and I spoke at Bank Director’s Acquire or Be Acquired Conference in Scottsdale about how banks can build value through their trust and wealth management businesses. Our session got a great response, probably because we were some of the only speakers offering the banking community some hope. How then do you ensure that a trust not become an earnings-dilutive cauldron of liability?
In this post, we have included the slide-deck from our presentation, “Valuing a Trust & Wealth Management Franchise” from Bank Director’s 2016 Acquire or Be Acquired conference. Even with the present market instability, banks have an interesting opportunity to expand their financial services while diversifying their revenue streams with asset management. We sense some growing demand for sophisticated trust services, and a lot of RIAs in the wealth management space see banks with existing trust departments as a complementary environment to sell into.
This post provides some brief thoughts about five topics, posed as questions, that can make or break the value of RIAs. These topics have longer term and more strategic implications than the day-to-day fluctuations in capital markets, and while equity research may be more fun, these are more reliably lucrative.
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