Gemini Fund Services’ Northern Lights Distributors arm is going out to the marketplace with an internal sales desk and more to support mutual fund shops’ distribution efforts. Next up: an advisor knowledge center, slated for next year, and more new hires. Alma Piscitello, a Morgan Stanley veteran who joined Northern Lights a year ago as head of strategic relationships specifically to build out this kind of distribution support, sat down with MFWire on the sidelines of Gemini’s recent conference in Music City. Also last year, Northern Lights soft ­launched an internal sales desk, which they call the “active marketing” unit, and they’ve been working out the kinks. Now, Piscitello says, Northern Lights’ active marketing service is ready for prime time. “We’ve been slowly growing it because we wanted to do it right,” Pisctello says. “Three new clients should be coming by the end of the year.”

The active marketing service doesn’t just involve internal wholesalers making calls. They create “cornerstone pieces of marketing” for the fund firm and then conduct a “targeted email campaign” from those pieces. The internals follow up with calls. The idea, Piscitello says, is to “drive activity and drive awareness.” The internals report directly to Piscitello, who’s doing one­ on ­one coaching sessions to help them be “more consultative in nature.” The internals are very focused; each covers only two products at a time.

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