HOLLYWOOD, FLA. - Few bank executives could state a clear and comprehensive wealth strategy. And most had trouble identifying something about their wealth management efforts that was unique.

Those were just two of the conclusions presented at a panel discussion the Bank Insurance & Securities Association’s annual conference in Florida. The session, “Bridging the Organizational Divide—Sharing Success Stories,” was moderated by Wayne Cutler, managing director at Novantas, who was citing a joint survey from Novantas and BISA when presenting those conclusions.

One of the main plusses of an investment program is a more diversified income stream for the bank. And one of the main impediments is a lack of commitment from bank management. Both are issues that have been continually cited by sources as a pro and con for bank investment programs.

Shelf space for financial products was another key issue, according to the BISA/Novantas survey. Sam Guerrieri Jr., from M&T Securities and president of BISA, participated in the panel. He said that this issue has crept up on the bank in the past several years. He noted that in times of high interest rates, advisors will often take the “path of least resistance” and offer clients a fixed annuity. But when fixed annuities sales began to decline, investors needed access to other products, which led to the shelf space problems. And that, in turn, has led to another age-old issue that continues to perplex most banks—referrals. “Some of this is back to the basics, but we have to strengthen our relationships with referring partners,” he said.