The term "platform" is often used to refer to a specific financial services firm within various mutual fund distribution channels, which can include wirehouses, broker dealers, RIAs, DC/Retirement, Bank and Trust.

Develop a strategy

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to these firms and channels and your strategy should be tailored to where you can get the best traction and return on your investment. Just because one asset manager has had success at Merrill Lynch and UBS, doesn't mean that your firm and strategy will garner similar interest.

First, you should determine who is most likely to invest in your financial products and services? Is it geared more for the retail investor? Will advisors be able to sell your funds to their clients? Do you have load shares where brokers might be interested?

Also, utilize any industry contacts that you may have. Do you have friends or former colleagues who might be able to get you into the door at a major Broker Dealer or Bank's Trust and Custody?

Analyze costs

After determining some of these building blocks, you should analyze the cost associated with being on these platforms. It can get quite expensive to be available to every investor, advisor, broker and institution and you may never be able to recover some of those costs if you can't generate sales from those channels. Start with the firms where you think you will get the most bang for the buck but don't be too frugal. Think of these firms as grocery stores. If your products aren't available on the shelf when people are shopping, they won't be able to buy.

Some of the largest platforms in terms of assets and new flows include Charles Schwab, NFS (National Financial Services), Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan, Edward Jones, Pershing, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity, Wells Fargo, UBS Financial, Northern Trust, Wells Fargo, Ameriprise, LPL, Raymond James, BNY Mellon and TD Ameritrade. However, being available on some or all of these platforms does not guarantee that you will generate assets. In addition to being available, you will need to get noticed.

The amount of information and options available can be daunting. Give us a call for a free consultation and let us help you make your plan.