Accessor Capital Management is looking to the Internet to help boost sales of its Accessor Funds through banks.
In the next few weeks, the Seattle-based company will let banks buy and sell the funds through Accessor.com instead of phoning in or faxing orders, Accessor president Tony Whatley said. In addition, Accessor will customize links to the Web sites of One Valley Bank of Charleston, W.Va.; GreatBanc Trust Co. in Aurora, Ill.; and First Interstate Bank of Billings, Mont., Mr. Whatley said.
Accessor, which is 25% owned by Zions Bancorp of Salt Lake City, manages $2 billion of assets.
The three banks' sites will offer marketing materials for the Accessor funds, asset allocation tools, and recommendations of portfolios. Accessor already provides bank clients with co-branded printed marketing materials. It is difficult for small banks to stand out, and Accessor Capital helps them to "accentuate their own brand and their own local positioning," Mr. Whatley said.
Michael Welgat, president of GreatBanc, said the Internet link will enable clients and prospective clients to get instant information about the Accessor Funds rather than waiting for it to arrive in the mail. Though GreatBanc has had a Web site since last year, it is geared to corporate clients, he said.
"This alliance with Accessor will move us in a slightly different direction and make it more suitable to a retail client," he said.
Accessor Capital Management, which sells its funds through 64 banks and independent trust companies, is a small but growing investment management company. It was founded in 1992 as Bennington Capital Management but was renamed last year to reflect the brand of its eight no-load funds.
The fund family's assets under management doubled to its current level from $1 billion in 1998, with about 75% coming from bank trust departments. Mr. Whatley said the company has also doubled its wholesaling force, to eight, and plans to double it again this year.