Marketing Alpha Partners is now able to offer clients product development support after Rob Shearman joins as partner and head of product development and strategy.
Shearman joins former colleagues and co-founders of MAP Paul Boughton and Mike Evans at the firm, working with them previously at Legg Mason.
Evans and third co-founder Andrew Burchill set up MAP in 2018 to provide marketing, content and thought leadership business for asset managers, with Boughton joining as co-founder in January 2019.
The trio have been busy promoting the core service offerings of the business including distribution strategy, sales impact and marketing strategy/product communications and have at least five client groups on board.
Shearman joins to offer a fourth core service in product development. He was previously head of international product at Legg Mason for 12 years up until 2016, when he set up his own consultancy. In this role, he has advised a number of high-profile asset managers on their suite of products before deciding to join MAP.
He told Investment Week: "We are in an era where companies need to think strategically about where they want to head. They need to assess their product lines and identify where the opportunities are."
Boughton added: "A lot of firms do not have product functions, it is a fairly new concept. More firms will be looking at us and where they think we can help avoid them going down a cul-de-sac route.
"Groups will need someone with deep commercial knowledge and credibility to support their business plans, such as Rob."
Shearman identified a number of key themes that have emerged from his conversations with asset managers including Brexit impact, innovation of existing products and changes driven by regulation.
On Brexit, Shearman said more and more firms are cherry picking their best offshore strategies and bringing them to the UK, while regulation is making it "more difficult off the ground".
"Groups need to spend more time on implementing iNEDs, for example. They also need to identify what investors really need and whether they are offering value for money."
He added there also needs to be innovation around the features of existing products; for example funds that have a good track record but aren't selling.
"What are the bells and whistles that could be tweaked? Maybe the pricing structure, the way tax is reported or the objective? This is a very important element to product development and shouldn't be dismissed," he said.