Do you want to start an open-end investment firm? If YES, here’s a complete guide to starting an open-end investment firm with NO money and no experience. As a core professional that has successfully cut is teeth in the investment and financial services industry and you want to become your own boss, one of the profitable professional businesses that you can launch is an open-end investment management fund firm.

An open-end Investment fund business is one of the businesses that an entrepreneur can start small and perhaps with a functional shared office. At the same time, established investors can leverage on the services of larger corporations to set up their own open – end investment fund firms in strategic locations within a business district in the United States of America.

It is very needful that you analyze the existing firms in and outside of your area. Also, you would be required to check the existing competition, as well as know their strength and weaknesses. Knowing the weaknesses of the existing open-end investment management fund firms, means that you would be able to learn from their mistakes and in turn come up with a better business devoid of the mistakes and weaknesses of others.

If you have been tinkering with starting your own open-end investment management fund firm, but do not know how to go about it, then you should consider going through this article; it will give you the needed facts and direction.

19 Steps to Starting an Open-end Investment Firm in the US

1. Understand the Industry

The financial services industry is indeed a broad industry, and one of the active businesses that any entrepreneur who has the financial requirements and solid business understanding can successfully start is an open – end investment fund firm.

The Open – End Investment Funds industry consist of legal entities that earn fees by pooling and investing money, giving the investors rights to a proportional share of the fund performance. Ownership shares of these funds are sold to the public in initial public offerings with additional shares offered continuously. Investors redeem the shares at prices determined by the fund’s net asset value or market value.

The Open-End Investment Funds industry has grown only slightly in recent years in spite of substantial growth in financial markets. Industry revenue growth was slower than overall asset growth as operators have been forced to lower fees to meet shifting consumer preference.

The US bull market that has profited the industry since 2012 is likely to continue in 2018, as the value of the S&P 500 is expected to increase. In addition, the biggest shift for the industry over the past five years has been evolving investor preference for exchange-traded funds (ETFs). ETFs generally have lower fees and more liquidity than mutual funds

If you are a keen follower of the industry, you will agree that despite recent volatility in global capital markets and investor push toward passively managed funds, the performance of the open – end investment funds industry is expected to improve strongly going forward.

Industry operators generate revenue from fees, which are largely calculated as a specific share of total assets under management (AUM). It is on record that by 2012, the revenue generated in the industry passed pre – recessionary levels. Plus, the Industry revenue is projected to grow in the coming years.

Improving market conditions after poor global equity returns in 2016 will push up stock returns and bond yields, causing asset under management to grow going forward. So also, demographic trends are also expected to increase demand for the services of open – end investment funds firms.

The Open – End Investment Funds industry will continue to experience growth in all parts of the world especially in developed countries. Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 12,133 licensed and registered open – end investment funds firms scattered all across the length and breadth of the country and they are responsible for employing about 130,568 employees.

The industry rakes in a whooping sum of $150 billion annually with an annual growth rate projected at 0.6 percent within 2012 and 2017. It is important to state that Capital Group, Fidelity Investments, and the Vanguard Group has the dominant shares of the available market in the industry.

The open – end investment fund industry will continue to blossom because corporate organizations, accredited investors, business men and women, households and international business community et al will not relent in ensuring that their investment portfolio is well-managed.

Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own open – end investment funds firms could be that despite the fact the business in capital intensive and the risks involved is high, it is indeed a profitable business venture.

Starting an open-end investment funds firm requires professionalism and a good grasp of investments.

You would need to get the required certifications and license and also meet the standard capitalization for such business before you can be allowed to start an open – end investment funds firm in the United States; the industry is heavily regulated to guide against fraud and criminality.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require the services of an open-end investment firm is not restricted to people and corporate organizations around, as it cuts across people and corporate organizations who are interested in investing their money as a means of earning more money from all over the world.

This is so because open – end investment is a worldwide platform hence the leverage to work for people all across the globe.

So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics for your open – end investment funds firm, then you should make it all encompassing. It should include business oriented people, investors and corporate organization within and outside the United States

3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On

Most open – end investment fund firms tend to provide a wide range of investment funds which include pooling and investing money that is why it seems that there are no niche areas in the industry.

But on the other hand, some open – end investment funds firms may decide to major in some key areas like;

  • Sponsoring and offering equity funds
  • Sponsoring and offering bond funds
  • Sponsoring and offering money market funds
  • Sponsoring and offering exchange-traded funds
  • Sponsoring and offering hybrid funds
The Level of Competition in the Industry

The level of competition in the industry does not in any way depend on the location of the business since most open-end investment firms can operate from any part of the world and still effectively compete in the industry.

When it comes to open-end investment services, distance is never a barrier when competing for clients especially international clients. What clients want is result, hence they are ready to hire the services of an open – end investment firm no matter the part of the world they operate from as long as they have good track record.

But over and above, there are several open – end investment funds firms, investment portfolio management firms, investment banks and investment cum financial consultants scattered all around the United States and in the cyber space.

So, if you choose to start your own firm in the United States, you will definitely meet stiff competitions amongst open-end investment firms, and other investment services.

4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry

In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and general public than others.

Some of these brands have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.

These are some of the leading open – end investment funds firms in the United States of America and also in the globe;

  • BlackRock (United States)
  • The Capital Group (United States)
  • Allianz Asset Management (Germany)
  • The Vanguard Group (United States)
  • State Street Global Advisors (United States)
  • PIMCO (United States)
  • Fidelity Investments (United States)
  • Morning Star Incorporated
  • P. Morgan Asset Management (United States)
  • Credit Suisse Asset Management (Switzerland)
  • Chevy Chase Trust Company
  • Hightower Advisors, LLC
  • Oxford Financial Group, LTD
  • Comprehensive Financial Management, LLC
  • AT Investment Advisers, Inc.
  • Plante Moran Financial Advisors
  • Brownson, Rehmus & Foxworth, Inc.
  • Innovest Portfolio Solutions, LLC
  • Convergent Wealth Advisors, LLC
  • The Hartford
Economic Analysis

When it comes to starting an open – end investment firm, you just have to get your feasibility studies and market research right before venturing into the business.

Even though the startup capital for starting the business is relative to the firm, but it will not be out of place if you do your research before you start.

You will be expected to hire experts that will help you get comprehensive economic analysis of the businesses within the location that you intend launching the business.

If you get your economic and cost analysis right before launching the business, you may not have to stay the long before you breakeven.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

When starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful brand as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is expensive buying the franchise of an open – end investment funds firm, but it will definitely pay you in the long run.

But if you want to build your own brand after you must have proved your worth in the open – end investment funds industry and other related financial consulting businesses, then you might just want to start your own firm from the scratch.

Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before choosing a location to launch the business.

Please note that most of the successful open-end investment funds firms around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

One of the major challenges you are likely going to face when starting your own open – end investment funds firm today is the presence of sophisticated open – end investment funds, investment portfolio management firms and other related businesses who are offering same services that you intend offering. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.

Some other threats that you are likely going to face are unfavorable government policies, the arrival of a competitor within your location of operations and global economic downturn which usually affects purchasing/spending power.

There is hardly anything you can do as regards these threats other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

As regards starting an open – end investment funds firm, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow.

You have the option of choosing a general partnership, or limited liability company (LLC) for this business. If your intention is to grow the business and have clients from all across the United States of America and other countries of the world, then choosing general partnership is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC will cut it for you.

Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.

These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your open – end investment funds firm; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.

If you take your time to study the various legal entities to use for your open – end investment funds firm, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable.

You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.

The truth is that, upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your open – end investment funds firm so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below

When it comes to choosing a name for a business, it is expected that you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents.

If you are considering starting your own open-end investment funds firm, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Main One® Investment Firm, LLC
  • Classic Fur® Investment Group, Inc.
  • Tim Gregory & Associates Investment Firm, LLP
  • Investment Solution Open – End Investment Funds Firm, Inc.
  • Sage Kairos® Open – End Investment Funds Firm, LLC
  • Robert Hills™ Open – End Investment Funds Group
  • Nelson Peterson® Investment Fund Firm, LLC
  • Penny Wise® Open – End Investment Funds Firm, LLP
  • Stock Grower® Open – End Investment Funds Firm, LLP
  • Beckham Anderson® Open – End Investment Fund Firm, Inc.
  • Safe Hands® Open – End Investment Funds Firm, Inc.
  • Fin Corp® Investment Funds Firm, Inc.

9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from.

So, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy covers and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your firm.

Here are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own open – end investment funds firm in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Risk Insurance
  • Credit insurance
  • Deposit insurance
  • Financial reinsurance
  • Lenders mortgage insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance
  • Payment protection insurance

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

If you are considering starting your own open – end investment funds firm, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

Apart from the results you produce as it relates to return on investment (ROI), professional certification is one of the main reasons why most open – end investment funds firms stand out. If you want to make impact as in the open – end investment funds industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.

These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own open – end investment funds firm;

  • CPM Certified Chartered Portfolio Manager AFA Accredited / The Certified Portfolio Manager (CPM®)
  • Investment Management Certificate
  • MoP® Certification – Management of Portfolios
  • The CISI Diploma in Investment Compliance
  • Certified Mutual Fund Specialist (CMFS)

Please note that the higher your qualifications and experience (expertise), the easier it is for you to secure high profile open – end investment funds deals from corporate clients.

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

The importance of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized especially a business like open – end investment funds firm.

It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you.

These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own open-end investment funds firm in the United States of America;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License and Certification
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Consulting contract documents
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document
  • Apostille (for those who intend operating beyond the United States of America)
  • Company Bylaws
  • Insurance Policy
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Apart from the required capitalization and pool – funds from your clients to invest with, starting an open-end investment funds firm can be cost effective. Securing a standard office in a good business district, equipping the office and paying your employees are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital.

No doubt when it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.

Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your open – end investment funds firm;

  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for loan from your bank
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

Open – end investment funds firms and most financial services based type of businesses require that you see physically with your clients hence it must be located in good location; a location that is prone to both human and vehicular traffic and a location that is at the epicenter of a business district if indeed you want to attend to loads of clients.

If you have taken your time to study the open – end investment funds industry, you will realize that open – end investment funds firms and financial consultancy agencie are willing to pay expensive rents in order to stay in a busy business district; a place where business activities and financial activities are at its peak.

It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to open your open – end investment funds firm is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people with the require purchasing power and investment lifestyle.

If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility for your open – end investment funds firm in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business and perhaps giving direction to potential clients.

It is important to note that a business facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing / renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for a business such as open – end investment funds firm, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city and perhaps country you intend starting your firm.

These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your open – end investment funds firm;

  • The demography of the location as it relates to the number of investors and potential investors
  • The demand for the services of open – end investment funds firm related businesses in the location
  • The purchasing power of the residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of open – end investment funds firm and related services in the financial consulting services industry in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community
  • Traffic, parking and security

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

There are no special technologies or equipment needed to run this type of business except for customized software applications and other financial related software apps. So also, you will definitely need computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves).

When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing an office space, the size of the firm you want to build, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a standard open – end investment funds firm, then you should consider the option of leasing a facility for your office.

As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision.

Averagely, you would need a Chief Executive Officer or President (you can occupy this role), an Admin and Human Resource Manager, Fund Manager / Portfolio Manager, Risk Manager, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) / Chief Accounting Officer (CAO), Business Development Executive / marketing Executive, Customer Service Officer or Front Desk Officer, and Accountant.

Over and above, you would need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff to effectively run a medium scale but standard open – end investment funds firm. Please note that there will be times when you are expected to go out of your way to hire experts to help you handle some high – profile deals especially from big corporations.

If you are just starting out, you may not have the financial capacity or required business structure to retain all the professionals that are expected to work with you which is why you should make plans to partner with other investment consultants/experts that operate as freelancers.

The Service Delivery Process of the Business

The way open-end investment funds firms work vary from one agency to another, but ideally, an open – end investment funds firm is expected to first and foremost build a robust company profile before biding for open – end investment fund contracts from corporate organizations, it will give them edge amongst their competitors.

Most open – end investment funds firms get funds from investors who are interested in investing, and they assist them in investing their funds over a period of time as agreed by both parties.

Despite the fact that the open – end investment service is highly risky, it is still a profitable venture hence there is an agreement between the firm and its clients as it relates to the commission they are expected to make from the deal. Most open – end investment funds firms charge based on percentage and also a fix consultancy/business administrative fees. 

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies

As an open – end investment funds firm, you would have to prove your worth before attracting business deals from corporate clients. So, if you have plans to start your own firm, it will pay you to build first build a successful career in the open – end investment funds industry.

People and organizations will hire your services to help them handle all their investments if they know that they are going to get good returns on their investment.

So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company profile.

Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to open – end investment funds and the organizations you have worked for in time past. This will help boost your chances in the market place when sourcing for clients / investors.

Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your open – end investment funds firm;

  • Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to all the corporate organizations, accredited investors, business men and women, entrepreneurs, households and international business community in the United States
  • Advertise your business in relevant financial magazines, radio and TV stations (make yourself available for investment portfolio management services related talk shows and interactive sessions on TV and Radios)
  • List your business on local directories
  • Attend international financial cum investment expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
  • Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your business
  • Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
  • Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing

17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

The open – end investment funds industry is a competitive industry, and you must come up with a unique and highly creative strategy to be able to outsmart your competitors in the industry.

Part of what you need to do to stay competitive in the industry is to continue to make profits for your clients. Organizations and people will always run to you if they know that you have a better option especially as it relates to producing results.

Another strategy that you can adopt is to ensure that your organization is well positioned and key members of your team are highly qualified and certified investment portfolio managers, investment bankers and financial consultants.

18. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps to attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always.

If your customers are satisfied with your services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service providers.

If you can continue to improve on return on investment (ROI) and your customer service delivery, then you won’t struggle to maintain loyal customers.

Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.

With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e-mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).

19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be.

One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.

In promoting your brand and corporate identity, you should leverage on both print and electronic media and also social media (the internet).

As a matter of fact, it is cost effective to use the internet and social media platforms to promote your brands, besides it is pretty much effective and wide reaching.

Below are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and to promote and advertise your business;

  • Place adverts on financial magazines and related newspapers, radio and TV stations.
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth publicity from your loyal customers
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other platforms to promote your business.
  • Ensure that you position your banners and billboards in strategic positions all around your city
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas in and around our neighborhood
  • Advertise your business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
  • Brand all your official cars and ensure that all our staff members and management staff wears our branded shirt or cap at regular intervals.
Ajaero Tony Martins