Magazine article American Banker

Spectrem Software Offers a Peek at How the Competition Is Faring

Magazine article American Banker

Spectrem Software Offers a Peek at How the Competition Is Faring

Article excerpt

Banks rarely get the opportunity to compare their performance against their competitors' when it comes to managing and selling investment products.

Now the Spectrem Group, San Francisco, an investment management consulting firm, wants to change that.

The company has designed a program intended to give investment managers at banks the hard facts about all their retirement-service competitors - and where they stand relative to their rivals.

The program will be expanded in the next 18 to 24 months to cover such other investment areas as mutual fund complexes and trust businesses.

"A lot of times, people are just shooting in the dark" in their efforts to assess their performance relative to the competition, said Amy J. Errett, Spectrem's chairman.

The software program, called Spectrem Source, contains proprietary information such as banks' revenues and expenses regarding employee benefit programs they offer to their customers.

Eight clients have supplied their data to Spectrem to get the benchmarking program off the ground.

They include Midlantic, NBD, Bisys, Federated Investors, Bankers Trust, and Wells Fargo.

The American Bankers Association has endorsed the benchmarking program because of the growing need expressed by its member banks to compare their profits.

Many banks make educated guesses on what other investment managers are doing.

"Retirement services is such a huge asset-gathering opportunity that people you never thought would be in this business are," she said.

Spectrem works with clients who want to know exactly what their competitors are doing, and seeks to give them a clear idea without compromising confidentiality, she added. …

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