First of America Bank Corp. says customers are giving a warm reception to its new asset-allocation account.

Parkstone Portfolio Advisor, which invests in a basket of mutual funds, considers how soon customers will need the cash and how much risk they are willing to take.

"There is a strong demand for it," said Jeffrey N. Marshall, a vice president and director of product development for First of America. "Investors know they need to be diversified, but they don't have the time or inclination to do it themselves."

Mr. Marshall said the account, which has been out for a month, has attracted twice as much money as expected. He would not disclose the amount.

In recent years, asset-allocation accounts have become popular additions to bank investment product lines because they attract assets to proprietary funds and can generate a steady stream of fee income.

Neil Bathon, a partner at Financial Research Corp., a Chicago consulting firm, said asset-allocation products give banks a competitive edge. "The way to differentiate yourself going forward is not through product or price, but through value added services," he said.

Portfolio Advisor customers invest at least $25,000 and pay fees totaling 1% to 1.25% of assets a year. .

Most of the money is parceled out among the 19 portfolios in First of America's Parkstone Funds family. Portfolios from Putnam Investments and Franklin Resources Inc. are used to fill investment niches not covered by the $5.8 billion-asset Parkstone family.

Ann Figueredo, a consultant for Spectrem Group, San Francisco, said "the overall product offering is strengthened if you add outside brand-name funds." Customers often feel more comfortable investing in funds they know, she said.

The Portfolio Advisor accounts will be reviewed every quarter, and allocations are rebalanced as market conditions shift. First of America hired CoreLink Resources, a Concord, Calif.-based investment products marketing firm, to do the accounting and administer the accounts.

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