Chase Manhattan Corp. has had no problems meeting the aggressive growth goals it set when it combined its far-flung brokerage businesses in June, the division head said.
Revenues and earnings for Chase Investment Services Group were up 20% in the second half of 1997, said Gregory A. Rotella, unit president.
They probably will rise another 20% this year, said Mr. Rotella, whose unit comprises the bank's retail brokerage, discount brokerage, affluent markets group, retirement investment group, and commercial investment and retirement group.
For all of 1997, revenues were more than $300 million, and earnings topped $100 million. Gross profit margins ranged from 10% to 50% depending on the business, but the overall margin was 40%, he said.
Banks regularly combine or separate the components of their investment business, alternately seeking to accentuate service by segmenting units or increase efficiency by merging them, said Joy Montgomery, president of Money Marketing Initiative, a consulting firm in Morristown, N.J. "It comes and goes in waves," she said.
However, Ms. Montgomery said, Chase's 20% growth rate is better than most banks have accomplished through such restructuring.
Revenues for the individual businesses had been growing at 10% a year, Mr. Rotella said. Combined promotion and technology, as well as cross- referrals-encouraged by financial incentives-are behind the increased growth, Mr. Rotella said.
Chase Investment Services Group is looking to improve its sales by cross-marketing to the bank's 2.4 million customers in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, he said.
Though Chase's investment products have a penetration of no more than 10% in the tristate area, its consumer banking, middle-market banking, and small-business banking have penetration rates as high as 40% or 50%, Mr. Rotella said.
"We want to integrate the investment business into the existing customer base," Mr. Rotella said.
To boost sales, the bank is training and licensing platform staff to sell investment products, he said.
Sales of Chase's Vista mutual funds constitute about 15% of the bank's fund sales, up from 10% a year ago and 5% two years ago, Mr. Rotella said.
Other big sellers are Putnam Investments, Franklin Resources, and Fidelity Investments.
Chase avoids marketing its proprietary funds harder than the third-party funds the bank offers; no special incentives are given to staff for selling Vista.
Chase had total sales of $1.5 billion of all mutual funds through its branch brokers last year.