Hoping to capitalize on a portfolio manager's success, Chase Manhattan Corp. has opened a new mutual fund that will be co-managed by one of the managers of its successful Vista Capital Growth mutual fund.

The co-manager, Chase vice president David A. Klassen, has helped the Vista family's equity chief Mark A. Tincher run the Vista Capital Growth fund since 1992.

That fund now ranks as one of the country's 50 best performing equity funds over the past five years, according to Lipper Analytical Services Inc.

Mr. Klassen is teaming with portfolio manager Jill Greenwald to run the new Vista Small Cap Fund, which was started last month, according to Chase vice president Steven R. Samson.

The Capital Growth fund's solid reputation played a key role in allowing it to gather $750 million of assets since it was launched in the fourth quarter of 1987. A third of those assets flowed into the fund in the last half of last year, Mr. Samson said.

Mr. Samson said he hopes Mr. Klassen's reputation and track record also get assets flowing into the Small Cap fund.

But Mr. Samson said Chase doesn't plan to let the Small Cap fund get as big as the Capital Growth fund. Instead, he said the bank plans to close it off to new investors once it reaches $500 million in assets, to keep it at a manageable size.

Mr. Samson said Chase expects to get $200 million of assets into the Small Cap fund by the end of this year. He added that a "couple of million dollars" are in the fund now.

Significantly, Chase has not bulked up its long-term mutual funds with trust assets. Instead the assets have come from new sales through Chase's branch network and private banking department, as well as through outside banks and brokers.

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