BOSTON -- Getting on broker-dealer platforms is no longer easy for asset management firms. But with the right relationships, best products and unique offerings, it is possible. This is what speakers at Fund Forum USA's Global Fund Distribution Summit said here Monday.

Nomura Asset Management has worked assiduously and successfully over the past four years to get its models on brokers’ platforms, said Michael Andrews, head of the firm’s U.S. retail business.

Getting on the largest broker-dealer platforms is critical, he said, which is why Nomura began by concentrating on Merrill Lynch, UBS and Morgan Stanley.

“There is no magic bullet. It is a process. And if you don’t follow each brokerage’s unique process, you can get blackballed,” Andrews said. “Getting on these platforms is no longer easy.”

 It might take some time, and require checking in three months later, and perhaps again three months after that, but it is possible, especially if an asset manager starts at the top, he said.

“Identify the key people and who sits on the product review committees. Establish relationships. You have to have people who know their way around the brokerage industry and give them enough leeway to work the system,” Andrews suggested.

“The goal is to get your funds or your model on the platform, and if you can do that, you can get some serious dollars,” Andrews noted.

Nomura decided to sidestep brokerages that have their own proprietary platforms “because we did not want to disintermediate their work,” Andrews said. “We make sure that there is room for us to sit alongside a proprietary set of discretionary models and existing offerings. We don’t want to cannibalize their business.”

Never does Nomura bring clients or potential clients anything but its best funds, he continued. “That is our first hook to differentiate us from the masses.”

The second attribute that Nomura stresses is its international presence and experience. “With the shift of power on a macroeconomic level to Asia, if we promote our Asian and other core international products, that is a story broker-dealers have not heard. It is not the same old story about a large-cap, long-only fund.”

-- This article first appeared on Money Management Executive.



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