There are early signs that Dreyfus Corp. may contribute more to Mellon Bank Corp.'s bottom line this year, say some bank analysts.
The assets of Dreyfus, which was acquired by the Pittsburgh-based bank in 1994, grew by $3.5 billion to $79.1 billion during the first two months of this year.
Analysts say that the company's new emphasis on marketing stock mutual funds - which accounted for a third of the new cash inflows - will help drive up assets and the fees associated with them.
"The majority of growth will come from equities going forward," said Ruchi Madan, a bank analyst with Prudential Securities. "Dreyfus knows that, and is moving to meet demand."
An established bond fund powerhouse before it became part of Mellon, Dreyfus now typifies the broader bank mutual fund industry, for which bond funds are a mainstay.
Dreyfus has 28% of its assets locked in fixed-income funds, 55% in money market funds, and the rest in stock fund portfolios. Recently the company hired some new portfolio managers, and began marketing some stock funds previously managed by Mellon under the Dreyfus name.
Ms. Madan said she expects"the growth of mutual fund assets at Dreyfus to be among the most important drivers of Mellon shares."
She added that the fund company is expected to bring in management fees of $86 million for the first quarter, up 20% from the same period last year. Dreyfus' investment advisory fees were up 5.1% in 1995, to $309 million - or 10% of Mellon's 1995 revenues.
But at least one bank analyst isn't so optimistic about Dreyfus' short- term prospects.
Lawrence W. Cohn of PaineWebber said he doubts Mellon can expand Dreyfus' business, outside the municipal bond and fixed-income focus it has always had.
Dennis F. Shea, managing director at Morgan Stanley & Co., said that Mellon has been "refitting its branches, and now you see the Dreyfus logo much more prominently." He added that the bank had taken long enough to integrate Dreyfus and that "this is the year they have to prove they can sell Dreyfus products through Mellon" branches.
The analysts agreed that Dreyfus took the right approach when it formed Dreyfus Retirement Services last year, to attract more 401(k) business - a source of steady long-term management fees.
Prudential's Ms. Madan said Dreyfus needs to win a lot of business from small companies, or land several large corporate clients, before it establishes itself in the 401(k) arena. "But it may be several years before we see significant growth" from this area, she said.