Banks have relied heavily on the conversion of trust assets and the "redirection" of maturing certificates of deposits to grow their mutual fund groups. Those channels are starting to dry up, forcing banks to seek alternatives.

Banks are beginning to exhibit a sense of urgency to build fund assets, and rightly so. Bank-managed funds are well below the industry average in assets per fund across all fund categories. For example, the average size for bank-managed taxable fixed-income mutual funds is around one-third the industry average for the same category.

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