Eaton Vance Corp., known for its tax-exempt bond funds, is promoting a "tax-efficient" equity offering to capitalize on investors' hunger for stock portfolios.
The Boston-based company, which manages $14.7 billion in assets, this month reopened a growth and income fund dormant for 30 years. The fund limits portfolio turnover, to keep capital gains taxes from cutting into returns.
By reopening the fund, Eaton Vance is seeking some of the limelight that has been focused on high-performing stock funds in recent months.
"A big portion of the mutual fund sales are going into equity funds," said Brian Jacobs, senior vice president, bank division. "We want to make sure we get our fair share."
Indeed, preliminary data from the Investment Company Institute suggest that net new cash flow into bond funds was zero last month. But April was the second-highest month ever for new money coming into stock funds.
About 60% of Eaton Vance's assets are in domestic bond funds; stock funds make up about 17%, or $2.5 billion.
Other fund companies that specialize in bonds are feeling pressure to offer more choices or risk being locked out of banks and brokerage firms. John Nuveen & Co., a bond fund house in Chicago, announced plans last week to offer stock funds for the first time in its 100-year history.
"Financial advisers asked us for a broader product array, and we are responding to that in a way that's appropriate," said Nuveen's chairman, Timothy R. Schwertfeger.
Eaton Vance is hoping to boost its sales by following the trend favoring so-called tax-efficient funds. The reopened portfolio turns over 2% of its stock picks every year, as compared with 80% at most growth-oriented funds, Mr. Jacobs said. Mutual funds get taxed each time their stocks are sold at a gain.
Vanguard Group and Charles Schwab & Co. also have been promoting tax- efficient funds.
Mr. Jacobs began marketing Eaton Vance's fund two weeks ago to his 100 bank clients. The fund was closed months after it opened in 1966.
"Trust departments are very sensitive to taxes, because they deal with high-net-worth people who pay high taxes," Mr. Jacobs said.