In an unusual partnership, Banc One Corp., already one of the largest bank managers of mutual funds, is expanding its role in servicing its own funds.
The Columbus, Ohio-based banking company is taking a bigger part in record keeping, legal filings, meeting preparation, and other administrative tasks for the One Group of Funds, said David Kundert, president of Banc One Investment Advisors.
440 Financial, a Boston-based bank services company, had formerly handled many of these tasks.
Because of legal restrictions on banks' ability to service mutual funds, the new unit - One Group Services Co. - is owned by Bisys Group, a leading administrator and distributor of bank mutual funds.
But the unit, staffed with 15 Banc One employees, gives the banking company a bigger role in administrative and marketing functions that many banks continue to farm out, Mr. Kundert said.
"We are teaming with a partner, Bisys, who has agreed to set up a dedicated fund services company" for Banc One, Mr. Kundert said.
Banc One could ultimately take over ownership of One Services Group, providing banking laws are amended. "We're positioning ourselves for the time we can be in the business lock, stock, and barrel," Mr. Kundert said.
The banking company clearly has a lot at stake. It's fund program, while containing $9.5 billion of assets, also has undergone several changes in the past year-and-a-half.
While Banc One is working with Bisys to handle a number of fund servicing functions, the bank cannot replace 440 Financial as distributor until the contract expires at the end of November. Distributors underwrite the funds and hold and offer them to brokers. These activities are off limits to banks under the Glass-Steagall Act.
440 said it expects the contract to go to One Group Services Co. in November, said Bud Small, executive vice president with 440's owner, Shareholder Services Group. "Nothing is happening that we didn't anticipate."