Eaton Vance Corp., the Boston-based mutual fund company, is moving to attract new investors to its stock as well as its portfolios.
One of a handful of publicly traded fund companies, Eaton Vance this week applied to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company's stock currently trades on the over-the-counter Nasdaq market. Eaton Vance officials hope to catch the eye of big institutional investors by switching to the Big Board.
In another expansionary move, Eaton Vance recently set plans to add to its menu a portfolio that invests in health care stocks in the United States and overseas. The company plans to distribute the Medical Research Investment Fund, formerly owned by Capstone Asset Planning Co., Houston, to investors here and abroad.
The moves are part of a plan by Eaton Vance to expand beyond its traditional niche. Known primarily as a municipal bond fund house, Eaton Vance has been slowly entering other markets in recent years, including international equities.
Eaton Vance's plan to list on the New York Stock Exchange "means we're up there playing with the big boys," said Brian Jacobs, senior vice president in charge of the company's sales through banks.
William Steul, Eaton's chief financial officer, said the new listing should draw new investors - mostly pension plans - to its stock.
The company expects its nonvoting common stock to start trading on the Big Board on Aug. 15. The closely held company manages $17 billion in assets.
Mr. Steul said Eaton Vance is also taking steps to attract more international investors to its mutual funds. Acquiring the distribution rights to the Medical Research Investment Fund in a deal announced last month is part of that plan, he said.
Eaton Vance has agreed to keep the fund's investment adviser, G/A Global Management, New York. It plans to change the name of the fund, which manages $50 million in assets, to EV Traditional Worldwide Health Sciences Fund.
The deal is expected to close August 12.
According to Mr. Steul, about 10% of Eaton Vance's total fund sales comes from international investors. About 8% comes from banks. Most sales are through U.S.-based financial planners and brokerage firms, he said.
Working to double its assets under management, Eaton Vance continues to search for acquisition candidates, Mr. Steul said.
He added that the company has been approached by banks and insurance companies in the United States and Europe interested in buying it, but that no formal offers had been made. The discussions with potential acquirers were a "'let's have lunch and talk about it' kind of thing," he said.
He expressed doubt that a bank or an insurance company would snare the company. "Our management does not see value for our shareholders in selling out to a company that's not in the mutual fund business," he said.