Experts Corner – Accessing and Using Information in the Public Domain

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David R. Evanson

The Career Advisor, Fall, 2004

For a writer, therezzs little or no consolation in the notion that every book in the world is contained in the dictionary. They know that getting the words out and in the right order is the difficult part. In the same vein, for a financial planner, there is little or no consolation in the fact that every lead they will ever need is in the telephone book.

Itzzs with this idea in mind that Lord Abbett undertook a more selective approach in developing Lord Abbett Intelligence for the benefit of the 52,000 brokers and financial planners who distribute its funds and asset management services, according to spokesman Jason Farago.

The inscrutably named Lord Abbett Intelligence consists of eight databases that include private companies, 401(k) plans, public company insider holdings, public company senior officers, endowments and trusts, and not-for-profit companies. A: According to Farago, the power of the system is the software that links the databases into a one-stop shop, and which also enables the marketing-minded financial services professional to slice and dice their way to viable targets.

For instance, in the United States there are 1.1 million active 401(k) plans under administration. If you are planner in Kentucky, this doesnzzt do you much good. But what would be enormously helpful to know if you were a planner in Kentucky, and what Lord Abbett intelligence can tell you, is that there are 20 such plans in Kentucky with 1 to 10 participants. And, it can tell you who the administrator is, the effective date, the contributions, the total assets, as well as a myriad other nuggets that just might spell the difference between a new client and another bit of flotsam in your sea of marketing opportunities.

Lord Abbett has done yeomanzzs work coming up with a system that not only targets, but also provides access to companion resources, such as market and industry news, market commentary and sales literature. And better yet, if you sell Lord Abbett products and services, itzzs free.

But even if you donzzt, there is still a kernel of marketing wisdom to be gleaned from Lord Abbett Intelligence. That is, the underlying databases consisting of private companies, 401(k) plans, public company insider holdings, public company senior officers, endowments and trusts, and not-for-profit companies are not proprietary. They can easily be purchased, and (perhaps not so easily) sorted in such a way as to produce viable leads for ongoing promotion.

If youzzre in the business of wealth management and financial planning, your time is your most precious asset. Accordingly, you owe it to yourself to optimize time spent on marketing so that you are chasing down warm leads and not strangers in the telephone book.