Director of Research, Executive V. P., Co-Founder
In 1986, Avi co-founded Strategic Insight (SI), a research and business intelligence firm. In its early days, SI focused on the small, emerging U.S. mutual fund industry. Today, SIís research and technologies are shared throughout the world with companies that collectively manage a majority of the $30+ trillion invested in mutual funds globally, including with investment managers overseeing about 90% of the U.S. fund industryís assets. Strategic Insightís research also benefits U.S. insurance companies serving the variable annuity industry, and is used in addition by the S.E.C. and the Investment Company Institute, among others. Internationally, Strategic Insightís data, research, and consulting services assist dynamic asset managers aspiring to benefit from the expanding demand and opportunities for investment management in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Canada, and Australia.
Avi participates in the on-going development of SIís Simfund, a business intelligence tool widely used globally, which tracks monthly $30+ trillion in mutual fund assets. Simfund integrates proprietary SI data fields (actual fund flows on $5+ trillion of AUMs, fee ratios, distribution mapping and share of wallet across 900 BDs; proprietary data from SIís subsidiaries in Canada and Australia, etc.) with data from the ICI, Morningstar, Lipper, Access Data, SEC filings, and more.
Avi contributes to SI research, which spans how the mutual fund industry is adapting to the changed environment; product innovations; distribution and pricing trends; fee and profitability benchmarking; independent trusteesí education; fact-based studies helping in mapping growth opportunities for investment managers globally; income-at-retirement and variable annuity trends; and peer analysis. Avi also advises SIís clients, which, besides fund managers and distributors, include investment banks; M&A, consulting, law, audit, back-office, and hedge fund firms; and U.S. governmental agencies.
Avi presents often to mutual fund board of directors and contributes to SIís Rule 15(c) analytic services produced for dozens of fund firms. As a passionate industry observer and strategist, Avi is widely quoted in the media and is often a panelist or a keynote speaker in investment management industry events, including the MFDF and the IDC.
In 2007, when the US SEC considered repealing Rule 12b-1 (fees for distribution embedded in mutual fundsí expense ratios), Avi suggested that marketplace developments were rapidly reducing the use of Rule 12b-1 fees; therefore, regulatory changes (considering their $1 billion-plus costs and potential unintended consequences) were not needed; and that radical changes to the Rule would indeed be harmful to small investors. SIís studies on Rule 12b-1 and its proposed amendments were shared with the SEC. (Rule 12b-1 was not modified and, indeed, in recent years, Rule 12b-1 fees have been fast disappearing as a way to pay for new fund sales in the US.)
In 2011, Avi co-authored a seminal paper commissioned by the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), which analyzed and benchmarked fund fees in Europe and how they compared to mutual fund fees in the U.S. A similar Strategic Insight study commissioned by the Canadian industry association was published in November 2012 and was shared with regulators in Canada.
In October 2013, at the ICI invitation, Avi presented to a gathering of the world’s mutual fund industry associations (International Investment Funds Association).
Avi was raised in a farming village in Israel, studied Chemistry at Tel Aviv University, and received an MBA, with distinction, from New York Universityís Stern School of Business in 1985.