The dog-eat-dog asset management business is undergoing changes in the way investment professionals court new business and retain customers, according to a newly published study by kasina.

Asset managers are increasingly seeking to wring more value out of internal wholesaling desks by using new tactics to link desk-bound sales representatives to colleagues in the field. Some firms are also rewriting the job descriptions of internal wholesalers to include outbound marketing and additional customer service responsibilities.

In addition, asset managers are backing away from the shotgun approach to working with numerous distributors and, instead, are concentrating resources on a select group of "focus firms" with proven track records of landing large clients. Deciding which distribution firms make select lists involves new factors in addition to traditional variables like assets under management.

Predictive modeling technology is also coming into vogue. Wholesalers' knowledge of financial adviser customers is increasingly being supplemented by computer models that slot these investment professionals into pre-determined behavioral categories. The categories are found to be conducive to different types of crafted sales pitches, such as face-to-face meetings or steady flows of technical information distributed via the Internet.

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