First Union Corp. is shortening the moniker of its mutual fund family.
Beginning Oct. 31, the Evergreen Keystone Funds will be known as the Evergreen Funds. The switch should reduce consumer confusion, executives say.
Charlotte, N.C.-based First Union has cobbled together its $34 billion- asset fund complex over three years by buying banks and fund companies. The Evergreen name came with the acquisition of Lieber & Co. in 1994; Keystone Investments joined the family two years later.
"Today you need a globally recognized brand name," said William Ennis, managing director of the fund family.
The fund division will launch a national advertising campaign in 1998, Mr. Ennis said. Since the funds will shortly be sold outside the United States, they need a widely recognized name, he said.
Some banks have seized on relaxed guidelines from the National Association of Securities Dealers that now let a bank put its own name on its fund family. That strategy, however, is not in First Union's plans, Mr. Ennis said; the Evergreen brand is strong on its own, he said.
Charles B. Wendel, president of Financial Institutions Consulting, New York, said some retail and small-business customers would rather buy investments from investment firms not affiliated with a bank.
"There is still a disconnect in people's minds between what a bank does and what an investment company does," Mr. Wendel said.
Shorter names are easier to remember, said Brannon M. Cashion, an image and identity consultant at Addison Whitney, Charlotte, N.C. First Union's choice was easy, because Evergreen is the better-known name, he said.
"Everyone would want funds that are evergreen-ever making money."