Mutual fund marketers have maintained for decades that sales is a game of building trust through face-to-face meetings with clients. Put specialized wholesalers in front of different types of financial advisers, and sales are bound to rise. Divisions of labor within mutual fund marketing departments traditionally amounted to a game of divide and conquer in which some groups of wholesalers targeted wirehouse brokerage firms, while others tackled regional brokers, advisers domiciled at banks or insurance companies, independent advisers or accountants.

And not only have fund companies traditionally divided advisers along distribution channel, but also by assets under management. But both approaches fail to consider that institutions house vastly different types of practitioners and run the risk of failing to provide smaller firms or advisers with necessary tools for growth, according to a recent study.

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