OppenheimerFunds and wealth management—on its face, is not much of a story. Only now the mutual fund behemoth has a dedicated channel to help advisors with the “blur” of Europe, the fiscal cliff and many of the other issues clouding the market’s outlook.
“Really it’s about helping advisors to understand what’s going on,” Joe Moran, who heads the company’s wealth management distribution efforts, said at Schwab Impact 2012 in Chicago on Tuesday. “Last year it was Europe and currency issues. This year it’s the fiscal cliff. The help we give is not influenced by the funds’ story; it’s completely objective. We’re trying to help them with their business and answering the questions their clients have.”
Moran said he and his team are focused on three target markets; RIAs, trust companies/banks, and the multi-family offices.
“Within those, we have two clients; the investment side, such as the CIOs and analysts, as well as advisors,” he added.
The advisors are important because although they’re not involved in the investment thesis and decisions directly, Moran said, “they certainly have a voice. If we can help them with practice management and some of the other issues they’re dealing with, then it helps us solidify the relationship with the larger firm.”
He pointed specifically to the recent launches of the firm’s CEO Advisor Institute to help advisors manage the growing complexity and commoditization of offering financial advice.
“It takes into account a lot of behavioral research from Duke University,” Moran explained. “It’s a value-add that helps advisors in-turn help clients in this ever-changing world. We’ve done a lot on the periphery well, but we wanted to concentrate on doing a few things great.”
But he’s under no illusions, and added that ultimately, “we’re trying to sell mutual funds. All of this is great, but is has to lead to selling product. Our product and distribution (from what I just mentioned) is very aligned at the moment. It means the advisors are armed with more intelligence and more interconnected resources.”
Moran has been with OppenheimerFunds for 2 ½ years. Prior to his current position, he was with DWS Scudder, where he did the same thing. He has a team of seven current members and is adding two more members in the coming month.
“It is now a dedicated channel, with dedicated marketing support,” he noted.
Technology is a central part of the initiative, and he pointed to the recent release of a research app meant to help advisors with the asset allocation piece of the client portfolio.
“It lets advisors see where a particular company’s the revenue is coming from,” he elaborated. “Take Coca-Cola for intsance, it’s an American company, but is it? It’s also global, so how does it fit in the portfolio and how correlated is it?”
Check out complete coverage of Schwab Impact 2012 and archived 2011 conference stories at AdvisorOne.