Federated Investors Inc., which bucked the first-quarter earnings slump among asset managers, is trying to sell more mutual funds through one of its main annuity channels - insurer-owned broker-dealers.

National sales director Thomas E. Territ said the Pittsburgh company hired four wholesalers in March to sell funds through 25 of the 28 insurer-owned broker-dealers through which it sells its annuities or whose affiliates' annuities it subadvises.

The 25 include Nationwide Life Insurance Co., of Columbus, Ohio, Cincinnati-based Ohio National Life Insurance Co., and Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co., said Mr. Territ, a senior vice president, in a telephone interview Friday.

"Insurance companies are building or buying brokerages for their agents," he said, and "are selling more and more load funds to their customers." Federated hopes to cash in on the trend.

Federated subadvises annuities for 11 of the 28 companies and sells its own Triple Crown variable annuity to the rest. Triple Crown, also sold through banks and brokers, has about $1 billion of assets under management, Mr. Territ said. All told, Federated's annuities business manages or subadvises about $4 billion of assets, Mr. Territ said.

J. Christopher Donahue, president and chief executive officer, mentioned the campaign Wednesday when he announced first-quarter earnings of $41.6 million, 11% more than a year earlier.

Federated's managed assets rose 5% from yearend, to $146.4 billion. Much of that growth was in money market funds, whose assets grew 8%, to $107 billion - topping $100 billion for the first time. Fixed-income fund assets rose 6%, to $15.1 billion, and separate-account assets 4%, to $6.1 billion.

Equity fund assets slid 12%, to $18.2 billion. Mr. Donohue said the decline was entirely the result of lower prices for the underlying stocks. In fact, investors put more money into the funds than they withdrew, he said.

Some categories suffered net withdrawals, but the flow was positive in many categories of actively managed equity funds, including domestic equity and value funds, Mr. Donohue said.

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