Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Co. has beefed up its bank wholesaler staff by 20% this year, bringing its head count to 47.

Burton J. Greenwald, a mutual fund consultant in Philadelphia, said the Boston-based mutual fund giant is looking to improve performance through banks and its other distribution channels.

"Across the board, Fidelity is making a renewed and recharged sales and marketing effort to try to regain the leadership position they enjoyed for so many years," said Mr. Greenwald.

Fidelity lost momentum after the Magellan mutual fund, its flagship, slipped a few years ago, he said.

Andy Trincia, a Fidelity spokesman, said the wholesalers were added because banks are selling "significantly more" Fidelity products, largely because of the funds' improving performance."It's basically responding to growth," he said.

Fidelity, which has 600 bank clients, declined to give sales figures for its bank channel operations. But the unit accounts for nearly $50 billion of Fidelity's $571.5 billion of assets, Mr. Trincia said.

Assets are up 18% since the beginning of the year for the bank services group, according to Mr. Trincia.

"We've also added appreciably to our telesales effort, which has extended quite a bit our capabilities both from the technology standpoint and the support standpoint," Michael W. Kellogg, executive vice president of Fidelity Investments Institutional Services, said in a recent interview.

The telesales representatives provide support to those selling Fidelity products at banks. Four have been added in the last two years, bringing the total to 20.

Mr. Kellogg also said that bank customers show no signs of shying away from equity funds despite recent volatility in the stock market.

In fact, investors-especially at banks-had been underinvested in equities until the last few years, despite the long-term results, said Mr. Kellogg.

"I think banks in promoting equities have probably started to move their client base up to what would be a prudent allocation between stocks and bonds," said Mr. Kellogg.

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