One of the South's best-known mutual fund companies has set its sights on banks.

The Enterprise Group of Funds, based in Atlanta, plans to begin marketing its funds through banks in the fourth quarter of this year, according to Victor Ugolyn, the company's chairman and chief executive.

Source for Sales Growth

In a telephone interview, Mr. Ugolyn said that he is targeting banks because they have emerged as a major outlet for mutual funds and "will become even more powerful in market share" in the next few years.

The move is in keeping with a fund industry trend. Companies that have ignored banks in the past now see them as an important source for sales growth.

With eight funds and $500 million of assets under management, Enterprise is small by fund company standards.

But Mr. Ugolyn said he thinks an unusual investment-management strategy will help the company stand out in a crowded field.

Unlike most mutual fund companies, which employ their own portfolio managers, Enterprise farms out investment work to well-known institutional money managers.

It's very difficult for one organization to have experts in every area," Mr. Ugolyn said. "So we select the most prominent money managers to manage funds for our clients."

Access to Big-Money Managers

Thus, Enterprise is able to offer its retail customers access to money managers who generally do not handle accounts of less than $2.5 million.

Enterprise charges a 4.75% sales load on most of its mutual funds. The minimum investment is $1,000.

The company also offers a personal advisory service to customers who invest at least $100,000. For a fee equivalent to 1% of assets, Enterprise analyzes investors' risk tolerance and provides an asset-allocation service.

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