Mutual fund and ETF providers are being challenged with the shift in demographics and the trend toward goals-based investing. It has made the end-client relationship ever more valuable and as a consequence has increased the influence of the distributors (i.e., the gatekeepers) who own those client relationships (RIAs, financial planners, wirehouses, etc.). What does this mean for the asset managers who increasingly rely on the gatekeepers and want their products available to the platform's clients? Certainly performance, investment process, and risk are still key determinants for the inclusion of an asset manager on platforms (this is assuming open-architecture, no-conflict-of-interest platforms - not pay-to-play engagements in which revenue sharing arrangements are a big influencer of product availability). But is technology also a consideration for gatekeepers? Can the asset managers leverage technology to get, and deepen, the relationship with the distributors?


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