First Data Corp. is beefing up its staff with an eye toward expanding the services it offers mutual fund companies and helping them boost their distribution channels.

Jan Meriwether, a former executive at Colonial Investment Services and BayBank Investment Management, joined First Data Investor Services Group in early June as a vice president of marketing.

Less than a week later, Paul F. Carroll joined the Boston-based unit's legal staff from Watson Wyatt Worldwide, where he was a legal adviser on employee benefits plans. Before that, Mr. Carroll specialized in employee benefits law at Choate, Hall & Stewart in Boston. First Data's strategy is to offer consulting advice and fund servicing designed to expand its clients' methods of distribution. For example, the company tapped Mr. Carroll for his retirement and employee benefit expertise, rather than continue to outsource that part of the business, said Barbara Worthen, executive vice president and chief counsel.

The hiring represents an "intentional expansion of our depth as an overall legal group," Ms. Worthen said.

Ms. Worthen joined First Data from Fleet Financial Group as it began expanding its fund servicing business last September. First Data helps banks, investment advisers and mutual fund companies distribute and service their funds.

It performs telemarketing, data base marketing, mutual fund record keeping, shareholder services and fund accounting, among other services.

Ms. Meriwether, who has extensive experience in the fund business, will oversee strategic planning and marketing, including advertising and public relations, for First Data Investor Services clients.

Before joining First Data, Ms. Meriwether was a vice president at Colonial, a Boston-based fund company she joined in 1995. Before that she was vice president and senior product manager at BayBanks, where she helped retool the bank's branch distribution system. She began her mutual fund career at Fidelity Investments.

The two additions to First Data's staff will allow the company to help its clients expand their distribution capabilities, Ms. Worthen said.

"Multiple distribution channels is where it's at," she said.

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