Earlier this year, Michael Kitces observed that “Technology is the new distribution channel.” That presents product manufacturers with advantages and disadvantages, said Harvey Steele, head of intermediary distribution at Westwood Holdings Group.
On one hand, small firms have better, broader access to markets, he said. But using technology as a distributor can come at the cost of being a step or two away from the face-to-face relationship with core clients. Good data analysis can help solve that problem, he noted.
Steele is also bullish on active management in the coming years. That’s because low-return environments are actually more demanding from an investment management perspective than high-return ones, he said. Advisors need to get “creative” to differentiate.