Barnett has joined the growing number of banks that offer their own international and global mutual funds.
Florida-based Barnett Banks Inc. is offering the Emerald International Fund, its first to invest in foreign issues. The Jacksonville company launched the portfolio in response to requests from clients, said Donna Terry, president and chief executive of Barnett Capital Advisors.
The fund's managers will base their stock purchases on line of business rather than location, Ms. Terry said. This investment style will let the fund carry less risk and more value than other international funds, she said.
International funds are still unusual products at banks, said Joy P. Montgomery, a consultant at Money Marketing Initiative, Morristown, N.J. That's because bank clients tend to be conservative investors who are turned off by the risk in international funds.
About 30 banks now have proprietary international and global funds, according to Lipper Analytical Services, Summit, N.J. As of June 30, these 91 portfolios had assets totaling $11.1 billion.
Ms. Montgomery said that more banks are starting to offer riskier funds as they seek to round out their product lines and look more like their nonbank competitors. Barnett's latest offering may spur other banks to add international portfolios to their mix, she added.
"Banks tend to follow ... if one does something well," Ms. Montgomery said.
Barnett's Ms. Terry said the international fund will help the bank become a full-service provider of mutual funds and help its Emerald family of 25 funds appeal to all types of investors.
The new fund is being marketed to all everyone who invests with the bank, Ms. Terry added. It will make long-term investments in foreign companies and is subadvised by Brandes Investment Partners.