First Union Corp.s asset management division has a new name, a new president, and a new objective to reach past banks and brokerages and gather retirement plan assets from third-party investment advisers.
Since Dec. 5, First Capital Group has been Evergreen Institutional Asset Management. Though the name says institutional, and the unit does manage $87.6 billion of institutional assets, it also runs First Unions $32.4 billion retail Evergreen Funds. The name was changed to capitalize on their brand identity.
Former Bank One Corp. executive Patrick OBrien, the new president of Evergreen Institutional, said his experience will help it sell through advisers. Mr. OBrien ran Banc One Investment Advisors, the companys institutional investment advisory unit, which he set up in 1991 and which now manages $130 billion of institutional assets. He worked 14 years at Bank One, ending up as a senior managing director.
Until now, First Unions institutional asset management market has been public funds, endowments, insurance companies, government entities, and corporations. One way to widen this market is to qualify Evergreen as a registered investment adviser under the Investment Company Act of 1940, Mr. OBrien said.
The act regulates mutual funds and investment advisers that advise asset pools of over $25 million. Evergreen will be come a registered adviser in the first quarter, Mr. OBrien said. The new status will let it go after more of the retirement funds managed by third-party investment advisers, he said.
One problem Mr. OBrien said he means to address is that different First Union offices tend to suggest only the products they produce. For example, he said, Evergreens institutional asset managers in Charlotte, N.C., tend to offer the equity, fixed-income, and money market products run from there.
Similarly, managers in the Richmond, Va., office tend to suggest its fixed income products; those in the Philadelphia office push its equity products; and those in the Boston office push its fixed income, equity, and global structured products, Mr. OBrien said. Those in the White Plains, N.Y., office favor its money market funds, he said, and those in London tend to suggest the international bond products produced there.
Mr. OBrien wants to be sure the asset managers who use Evergreen Institutional know they can use any of its products in all of its offices.
However, he said he does not plan to consolidate product lines, or to offer all the retail funds to the institutional market. The investment side of the shop is not going to change, he said. We are going to put greater resources behind distribution in order to make inroads in the investment community.
Burton Greenwald, a Philadelphia mutual fund analyst, said it is crucial for investment banks to get a strong foothold in the institutional market, where investments are consistent and long-term.
Institutional investors are far less fickle than individual investors, and they bring a significant amount of assets, he said. The key is finding them, offering them the full line of products they desire, and keeping them happy.