Bank-managed mutual funds figured prominently on the most recent list of Standard & Poor's Select Funds.
Released this month, Standard & Poor's list of the top 17 large-cap blend funds included six bank-owned portfolios. Funds from Bank of America Corp., PNC Bank Corp.'s BlackRock Inc. unit, Chase Manhattan Corp., First Tennessee National Corp., and Mellon Financial Corp. all made the cut. The 17 on the list were chosen from an initial group of 833 funds, which included separate share classes.
Large-cap blend funds are equally weighted in growth and value stocks and frequently track indexes such as the S&P 500.
The Select Fund Evaluation Service evaluates funds within a particular investment style on the bases of management and returns. The service began in March. Bank proprietary funds represent 24 of roughly 150 Select Funds designated to date.
Philip Edwards, a managing director at Standard & Poor's responsible for the Select Funds, said he was not surprised to see bank funds well represented on the list.
"BlackRock and Chase are two good examples of funds that can hold up next to any fund," he said.
Funds from BlackRock, Chase, and Mellon have appeared on previous Select Funds lists, but this is the first appearance for Bank of America's Nations Funds and First Tennessee's First Funds.
A Select Fund designation can mean visibility, especially to a lesser-known fund such as Memphis-based First Tennessee's Growth and Income Fund, which has about $1 billion in assets.
"A lot of the time we see increased call volume and see more interest in the eyes of people who haven't been involved in the fund before," said Mike Hecklinger, marketing director of Alps Mutual Funds Services Inc., the Denver, Colo.-based distributor of the First Funds.
"All public recognition is very useful," said Sarah Jones, head of global sales and marketing for Chase mutual funds. "In contrast to some of the others, S&P is very quantitative," she added.
Next year Standard & Poor's will add Select Funds in the international and fixed income sectors and in some specialized sectors, such as technology or health care, Mr. Edwards said. S&P also will add funds to its small-, mid-, and large-cap growth lists in 2000, he said.