Mitchell T. Grant, back in Charlotte after a seven-year absence, is relishing the prospect of a milder winter. "I'm going to leave my snowblower in Boston," said Mr. Grant, who resigned from Putnam Investments last week to head a new unit at NationsSecurities.
Mr. Grant, 47, is also looking forward to his new challenge as an executive vice president and director of affiliated institutions for NationsSecurities, a subsidiary of NationsBank Corp. His assignment will be to syndicate investment products to other banks.
"NationsSecurities offered the ability to build a business and that's appealing to me." said Mr. Grant, who began working in Charlotte last Monday.
Putnam's Point Man
"This will in essence be a third-party marketing company that I will be starting for NationsSecurities."
As director of the financial institutions division at Boston-based Putnam, Mr. Grant had been responsible for selling Putnam mutual funds to banks across the country.
He is credited with making Putnam a dominant player in this fast-growing business. Last year, roughly a third of Putnam's $12 billion sales volume was done through financial institutions.
Mr. Grant said he will do much the same thing for NationsSecurities, which is a joint venture between NationsBank and Dean Witter Financial Services.
The plan is to market investment products and services, including NationsBank and Dean Witter proprietary mutual funds, to banks nationwide, even those with proprietary funds.
Competitors Are Prospects
"I'm going to assume there are a number of banks' across the country that would like to do it better," Mr. Grant said. "There are a number of banks which have their own proprietary mutual funds that are not able to get their funds up to a sufficient size within an acceptable time frame. We do think we can bring a lot of expertise to the marketplace."
Mr. Grant said he would attempt to sell NationsBank mutual funds even to banks that compete directly with NationsBank in the Southeast and Texas.
He compared this activity to the correspondent banking industry, where two banks can compete against and buy services from each other at the same time.
"NationsBank is growing at a fairly rapid pace, and if I limited myself to areas where NationsBank doesn't have a presence, I might find myself going overseas," he quipped.
Commenting on speculation last week that Mellon Bank Corp. had attempted but failed to buy Dreyfus Corp., Mr. Grant said he expected banks to continue seeking alliances with mutual fund companies.
Last month, First Union Corp., another Charlotte-based bank, announced the acquisition of Lieber & Co., which operates the Evergreen Funds.
"The banks have figured out that a way to accelerate their growth in this business is to expand their capabilities by buying expertise and buying assets. That's a trend that should surprise no one, and I think it will accelerate," Mr. Grant said.
NationsSecurities, formed a year ago, plans to have more than 600 brokers - trained by Dean Witter or NationsBank - operating from its branches in nine states by the end of the year.
Mr. Grant, a native of Washington, D.C., earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1969. After an early career in financial planning, he became director of insurance product marketing for Interstate Securities Corp. in Charlotte.
He left Interstate in 1987 to join Putnam as head of its insurance products and retirement plan marketing efforts.
He was made senior vice president and director of Putnam's financial institutions division in 1990.