Category: Resource Center

06
Apr

I’ve Got All These Business Cards…Now What?

By Megan Boulter, Marketing Coordinator

We live in a digital age where technology is constantly changing how we interact with professionals. One thing that hasn’t changed much is the use of the paper business card. Depending on the sources, you can find the use of business cards, in some form or another, dating clear back to the 15th century! Nowadays, you still find professionals everywhere using the business card as a first introduction icebreaker and as a contact information tool.

But let’s face it – all of us could be a little better when it comes to business cards and what we do with them. When you receive a business card, sometimes you look at it, sometimes you don’t, and sometimes it goes straight into your wallet, only to be creased, torn, discolored or never seen again. All too often, business cards end up in a dusty pile on your desk, only to be tossed out after a couple weeks or months. You may have forgotten to follow up with an important someone and now it has been ‘too long’ and is considered a ‘lost cause’.  If you are guilty of any of these things (or all of them!), you’re not alone. In fact, according to Statistic Brain*, 88% of business cards handed out will be tossed within a week of receiving them.

But what if I told you things could be different, better even? What if you could create a more personal experience and capture information effectively, therefore maximizing your conference and networking event return on investment (ROI)? Sounds good, right? Here are some helpful habits to create.

  • Look at the card

This may seem like common sense, but oftentimes business cards are exchanged and then shoved straight into a pocket or wallet without even a glance.

  • Actually read the card

It sounds crazy, but take time to briefly read the card when you receive it. You will have a greater chance of remembering the person and their information. It also shows the recipient that you are taking an interest in them rather than just collecting their business card.

  • Write notes

It’s no surprise that note taking helps us remember fine details. After you meet someone, use their business card to jot down some notes shortly after you part ways. What conference did you meet at? Is this a warm lead or an industry contact? Do you have similar hobbies or another personal similarity? Don’t expect yourself to remember everything – write something memorable that will help jog your memory.

  • Make the time

After the networking event, set aside time to input the business card data and notes. Make this a habit.

  • Get organized

Gone are the ages of desktop rolodexes and scrapbook sheets for business cards! Your smart phone has access to hundreds of apps that can help organize business cards. And the best part is the apps are typically free or less than $10. Some apps can even connect directly to your company’s customer relationship management (CRM) software. How cool is that?

  • Follow up

Feel proud that you have made it this far! Following up is key and is where you will find the real conference ROI. Follow up within 48 hours of the event.  A phone call, e-mail, or handwritten note is even better. Keep the message short and to the point. Try and work in a personal tidbit or hobby that was unique to that person. Invite them for coffee or reach out to them next time you are in their office area.

Even though today’s technology provides many efficient ways to share information, I have a feeling that business cards won’t be going away anytime soon. It’s important that you use business cards to your advantage in order to gain a competitive edge and leverage opportunities.

 

*Source: http://www.statisticbrain.com/business-card-statistics/

7257 GFS-4/3/2017
16
Feb

Positioning For Growth

Are You Ready For Distribution?

The Gemini Companies (Gemini) distributor believes successful marketing strategies require a thorough self-assessment during the distribution planning phase and frequent reviews to adjust accordingly. During strategy planning, investment advisors should seek to understand how to access their desired target client with focus on product placement requirements and expected activity. Gaining such understanding will help determine the best course of action to implement your distribution strategy and focus your time and resources in markets that are open to your fund opportunity.

Gemini developed the distribution growth cycle model to assist investment advisors in matching their current distribution characteristics with potential opportunities, allowing managers to tactically develop their distribution plan to match. Gemini’s distributor identified four distribution phases: Raising Capital, Emerging Manager, Growing Manager, and Established Partners. Each distribution phase has distinct characteristics, challenges, and opportunities. The phases are defined as:

FOUR DISTRIBUTION PHASES

Raising Capital – Investment advisors that have less than $250 million in firm assets under management and a fund with less than $100 million in assets. Fund may have less than a 1 year track record.

  • OBJECTIVE – Funds at this phase are seeking to raise capital and raise awareness of their strategy
  • CHALLENGES – Short track record, no Morningstar rating, conservative sales and marketing budget
  • OPPORTUNITIES –Tactical, geographic sales activity within platforms, that are open to listening to a new story

Emerging Manager – Investment advisors with approximately $250 million to $1 billion in firm assets under management and a fund with less than $200 million in assets. Fund may have a 1 to 3 year track record.

  • OBJECTIVE – Firms at this phase have garnered success raising assets and capitalize on that success to elevate awareness of their strategy
  • CHALLENGES – Less than three year track record, at the cusp of Morningstar rating, moderate sales and marketing budget
  • OPPORTUNITIES – With a young track record, broaden product placement within existing platforms and potentially expand to additional platforms. Increase activity in preexisting platforms through meeting participation and creating value add (i.e. intellectual capital)

Growing Manager – Investment advisors with over $1 to $5 billion in firm assets under management and a fund with more than $200 million in assets. Fund track record is 3 to 5 years.

  • OBJECTIVE – Firms at this phase have garnered success and are seeking deeper and broader platform placement opportunities
  • CHALLENGES – Established competition, strategic sales and marketing budget
  • OPPORTUNITIES – Broaden product placement within preexisting platforms, seek new distribution markets, and increase sales and marketing activity at the local, regional and national levels

Established Partners – Investment advisors with over $5 billion in firm assets and with a 5 plus year track record.

  • OBJECTIVE – Firms at this phase have a solid footprint in the investment community, may be seen as a market leader in their space. They are seeking to deepen relationships and product penetration across programs and platforms
  • CHALLENGES – Established competition
  • OPPORTUNITIES – Increase activity in preexisting platforms, create new strategies, seek allocations within recommended programs and seek new platforms open to a proven story

nld-akc-positioning-for-growth-distribution-growth-cycle-chart

 

 

akc-positioning-for-growth-next-steps

 

 

Northern Lights Distributors, LLC

Member FINRA/SIPC

2057-NLD-2/14/2017

14
Feb

DOL Readiness Guide

At the time of this writing, the compliance date for several provisions of the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) fiduciary rule is still scheduled for April 10, 2017. Barring any delays, the day is poised to usher in many changes for the mutual fund industry.

As comprehensive and engaged partners, The Gemini Companies are providing investment managers to 1940 Act Mutual Funds with general share class guidelines to consider as they review the potential impact that the new DOL fiduciary rule may have on their businesses.

STREAMLINING SHARE CLASSES

The fiduciary rule is expected to expedite the industry shift from commission-based products to fee-based solutions offered through intermediaries—a swing that has been apparent since the financial crisis of 2008. In fact, a handful of distributors, including Merrill Lynch and Commonwealth Financial, have already announced plans to eliminate commission-based products.

Halting these types of products will make it easier for investment managers to market their funds to investors because fee-based products consist of generally less expensive and more transparent, share classes. Share classes that are expected to win assets include:

  • Institutional (Class I or Y): This is the preferred share class for large-asset accounts because institutional shares do not have sales charges or ongoing 12b-1 fees, and tend to have higher minimums.
  • Investor (Class N): This share class is most often offered through intermediaries, which may assess 12b-1 fees for shareholder services and do not have front- or back-end sales charges.
  • Class A: This share class includes shares that have higher front-end sales charges with ongoing 12b-1 fees, and have been utilized for asset-based accounts.  If the shares are expected to be sold within one year, Class A shares could serve as substitutes for Class C shares that have back-end load charges. Class A shares that waive their front-end sales charge may also be effective.
  • Class T:  This share class includes shares that have lower front-end sales charges with ongoing 12b-1 fees may be considered as a lower cost solution to traditional C and A shares. This is a relatively new share class structure that has garnered a lot of attention in light of the new DOL fiduciary rule.
  • Class R: These shares are generally only purchased through 401(k) and other employer-sponsored plans, and do not carry front-end or back-end charges. However, operating expenses among this share class may vary greatly among fund families.

These share classes are likely to attract future investments because they are easier to understand, more reasonably priced, and have simplified fee structures. The current share class “alphabet soup” causes much confusion among investors. The fiduciary rule is poised to streamline share classes through its push toward fee-based products. This would greatly benefit investors who would be able to choose from more products composed of the above-mentioned share classes.

NEXT STEPS

Investment managers should review their existing share class lineup to determine potential impacts and if an update to their current share class lineup is in order to stay ahead of this trend. Offering products with more transparent and cost-efficient share classes may enhance managers’ credibility by giving them the opportunity to showcase their cost-conscious funds in a highly competitive market.

dol-readiness-guide-chart-1

SHARE CLASS OPTIONS

Investment managers who determine that an adjustment is needed to their share class lineup have two share class options to consider: Create a New Share Class or Convert an Existing Share Class.

Each of these options require a team of experts to assist with a variety of tasks which include, but are not limited to:

  • Updating Registration Statement
  • SEC filing
  • Fund Board approval
  • Revised contract execution
  • Unwinding or converting a share class, if applicable
  • Blue Sky registration
  • Intermediary communication
  • Repapering of Selling Agreements

Option 1 – Creating a New Share Class

Action Items Fund Partner Timeline
Prepare and file updated Registration Statement with the SEC Gemini Fund Services Legal Team

·         Provides brief legal overview

·         Prepares updated filing for review by advisor and counsel

Manager

·         Reviews filing and provides comments or approval to file

Fund Counsel

  • Reviews filing and provides comments or approval to file
  • Receives comments (if any) from SEC approximately 45 days after initial filing
  • Updates revised Registration Statement to reflect SEC comments

 

One week to prepare filing, and then 60-day SEC review of filing
Fund Board approval Gemini Fund Services Legal Team

·         Schedules matter for Board consideration during next quarterly Board meeting; an in-person meeting is required for changes to a fund’s 12b-1 plan

·         Prepares updates to fund agreements (12b-1 plan, expense limitation agreement, etc.) and coordinates contract execution after Board approval is obtained

Boards typically meet at least once every three months
Blue Sky registration

 

Gemini Fund Services Treasury Team

·         To add a new share class for existing funds

·         For restructure/reclassification, the team sends notification to Blue Sky vendor for amendment of reclassification

10 business days from effective date
CUSIP and ticker changes

 

Gemini Fund Services Fund Administration Team

·         Submits CUSIP and ticker request

Up to 7 days from Board Approval

 

Option 2 – Restructuring an Existing Share Class

Action Items Fund Partner Timeline
Prepare and file Prospectus supplement or revised Prospectus with the SEC Gemini Fund Services Legal Team

·         Provides brief legal overview

·         Prepares updated filing for review by manager and counsel

Manager

·         Reviews filing and provides comments or approval to file

Fund Counsel

  • Reviews filing and provides comments or approval to file

 

One week to prepare filing, which is effective upon submission to the SEC via EDGAR[1]
Fund Board approval Gemini Fund Services Legal Team

·         Schedules matter for Board consideration during next quarterly Board meeting; an in-person meeting is required for changes to a fund’s 12b-1 plan

·         Prepares updates to fund agreements (12b-1 plan, expense limitation agreement, etc.) and coordinates contract execution after Board approval is obtained

Boards typically meet at least once every three months
Blue Sky registration

 

Gemini Fund Services Treasury Team

·         To add a new share class for existing funds

·         For restructure/reclassification, the team sends notification to Blue Sky vendor for amendment of reclassification

10 business days from effective date
CUSIP and ticker changes

 

Gemini Fund Services Fund Administration Team

·         Submits CUSIP and ticker changes

Up to seven days for ticker changes

Up to two days for CUSIP changes

[1] Board approval may be required before a Prospectus supplement or revised Prospectus can be filed with the SEC.  Gemini’s Legal Team shall consult with fund counsel on a case-by-case basis to determine the appropriate course of action based on the proposed share class changes. 

Additional costs* to consider when starting or restructuring a fund:

·         Outside counsel fees

·         EDGAR filing fees

·         Prospectus changes

·         Printing fees

·         Intermediary distribution fees

·         Outside counsel (provides finalized brief and filing)

·         Intermediary platforms (selling agreement changes)

 

*Some cost may be considered a fund expense.

SUMMARY OF ACTIONS

Action SEC Filing Board Approval Blue Sky Registration Prospectus Changes CUSIP & Ticker Changes Proxy Vote
Create No
Restructure No

7147 GFS-2/13/2017