Not only do investors want to have their cake, but now they want baking lessons. As investors seek out advice more than ever, financial planning has taken on a vastly increased role in the financial services industry, which in turn has forced mutual fund firms to completely change the nature of fund wholesaling, according to industry consultants.

Wholesalers must now be consultative and specialized, and if firms want to achieve efficiency in the intermediary distribution channel, they will have to successfully incorporate technology and "virtual wholesaling".

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