Fidelity Investments is intensifying efforts to sell its funds through trust departments of community banks.
Nationwide, 300 community banks - defined by Fidelity as those with less than $1 billion in trust assets - use Fidelity Advisor Funds and associated services provided by the Boston-based fund giant.
Rather than add to that list, Fidelity wants to take on more business from its existing community bank clients, said Michael Kellogg, executive vice president of Fidelity Advisors Institutional Services.
To get more from its relationships with community bank trust departments, Fidelity has hired a new senior vice president to head that business, Craig W. Huntley, formerly with Marquette Trust Co. in Minneapolis. It has also expanded its programs for continuing education, sales training, and marketing support.
"Those areas do add value to a community bank. If we do that, we can get our fair share (of business)," Mr. Kellogg said.
"Large banks may choose a particular component from us, but community banks are looking for more turnkey support," he added.
Indeed, smaller trust departments tend to outsource large portions of their money management operations. Major players competing against Fidelity for that business include Federated Investors, Pittsburgh; SEI Corp., Wayne, Pa., and Wright Investors' Service, Bridgeport, Conn.
To attract assets from community bank trust departments, it is easier to massage existing clients rather than search for new ones, said Andrew DelGrego, director of bank services for Wright, which works with 50 banks.
"We, too, have a lot more to sell this year because we enhanced our program based on a dialogue with our customers," Mr. DelGrego said. Until this year, its bank clients outsourced all trust management to Wright; now banks can send them pieces of business.
Although Mr. Kellogg said Fidelity's 30 salespeople would focus primarily on offering more services to existing clients, they are getting new ones as well.
For instance, Maryland's Hagerstown Trust is adding Fidelity Advisor Funds to its menu in January. Hagerstown, which has $115 million in trust assets, will continue to invest in Federated Funds while also adding some managed by Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Twentieth Century Cos.
"We're trying to get a broad menu without adding too many families," said R. Daniel Eichinger, Hagerstown's chief investment officer. "Otherwise, it would be an operational nightmare."
Fidelity's sales team says the company's recent acquisition of Broadway & Seymour, a trust systems firm, helps solve its clients' accounting compatibility concerns when offering several funds.