Alliance Capital Management has launched a second series of television spots aimed at demystifying mutual funds and touting the benefits of financial advisers.
The New York-based mutual fund company, which reported a record $1 billion in fund sales through banks last year -- 22% of its volume -- is aiming its marketing campaign at consumers who need help selecting investments.
Promoting the value of financial advisers is part of a growing trend among mutual fund companies that charge sales fees and market their funds through banks and other intermediaries.
Putnam Investments and Massachusetts Financial Services, both of Boston, launched print advertising campaigns earlier this year highlighting the help financial advisers provide.
While mutual fund companies that market products through banks and other intermediaries are touting the benefits of using a financial adviser, no-load competitors say this strategy won't sway their customers to buy products that carry sales fees.
"I can see why these ads are appealing," said Meredith C. Callanan, marketing manager at T. Rowe Price Associates, the Baltimore-based no-load giant. "But Alliance is really going after a different audience that needs a little hand-holding."
One commercial makes fun of the complex jargon used in prospectuses. A voice babbles on about interest rate swaps, liquid high-grade debt securities, and floor transactions.
Meanwhile, in black and white, the screen reads: "Mutual funds have a language all their own. Unfortunately, it's not English. If you need an interpreter, we can arrange for you to speak with one."