Despite challenges, wirehouses are still the most attractive distribution opportunity for product manufacturers, according to Boston-based global analytics firm Cerulli Associates.

“Our proprietary Opportunity Index helped asset managers and product manufacturers understand how to best allocate their resources among various distribution channels,” stated Bing Waldert, director at Cerulli Associates.

“The index considers addressable assets, projected growth, and profitability. We analyze additional factors when evaluating the attractiveness of these opportunities, including advisor openness to working with wholesalers, use of packaged products, and predominance of proprietary products.”

So how did wirehouses fare on Cerulli’s index scale versus the broker-dealer channel? Wirehouses scored 129 out of a possible 150 with regional broker-dealers coming in at 107 and independent broker-dealers coming in at 106.

“Cerulli still considers the wirehouses to be the most attractive distribution opportunity, with a score of 129, largely owing to their dominant asset marketshare,”said Waldert. “Insurance broker/dealers, with minimal assets and heavy use of proprietary products rank last. The quickly growing registered investment advisor channel ranks on par with regional and independent broker/dealers.”

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