It’s all over — the financial crisis, that is, at least according to the asset management industry. 

A survey of asset managers by Cerulli Associates indicates that, post-crisis, they are optimistic about the condition of the U.S. economy, and about asset growth and revenue. And that optimism is leading them to develop new products and hire staff for sales and distribution. 

The “Executive Leadership” survey, which targeted CEOs, COOs and other senior executives of asset-management companies, analyzed the responses from 33 firms that Cerulli said represent approximately 20 percent of the U.S. industry by assets under management.

Forty-four percent of responding firms had AUM between $100 billion and $499 billion; 41 percent of the firms were under $100 billion; and the balance came in at $500 billion or higher. 

“We are able to validate that firms are confident and optimistic,” said Alexi Maravel, associate director at Cerulli. “They are no longer playing defense and are now proactive in devoting resources to grow and diversify their businesses.” 

Survey results indicated that more respondents (71 percent) are looking to the retail channel, rather than the institutional channel, for revenue increases in the year to come. That said, however, executives don’t plan to devote more of their firms’ resources to retail, but plan to keep them more evenly allocated between the two. 

Likewise, execs say that they’ll be doing most of the product development for the retail channel — unsurprisingly, perhaps, focusing on outcome-oriented solutions. 

The majority of respondents are also going to be paying more attention to sales and distribution issues, rather than to product, brand and investment technology needs. But one area in technology that they will be concentrating on is “big data,” in which they’re planning to invest in the course of the year.

— Check out Active Mutual Fund Managers Clamoring to Offer ETFs: Cerulli on ThinkAdvisor.