BOSTON -- In their quest to play a bigger part in delivering investment products to consumers, banks increasingly are setting up full-service brokerages, according to a survey.

Of 156 bank broker-dealers surveyed in September, 46% were full-service providers and 31% were discount providers, according to a survey by Cerulli Associates, Boston, a consulting firm that follows the mutual fund industry. The remaining 23% offered a mix of full-service and discount brokerage.

That is a big shift from 1992, when 41% of bank broker-dealers were full-service and 39% were discount providers.

Full-service brokerages provide a broad range of services, including investment counseling and portfolio management. In contrast, discount brokerages do little more than execute trades.

Cerulli Associates looked at bank brokerage activity in a sweeping survey titled "The State of the Bank Securities Industry." The firm conducted extensive interviews with the bank brokerage firms, as well as with 109 banks that manage proprietary mutual funds.

The survey provides an in-depth look at what investment products banks are selling, what types of employees are used to sell investments, and which mutual fund companies are making the biggest inroads into banks.

"We think it's the first real, hard data on a lot of these trends," said Kurt Cerulli, president of Cerulli Associates. He said he is considering updating the survey annually.

Among the key findings:

* Two big mutual fund companies -- Putnam Financial Services and Franklin Resources -- have established a commanding lead over all competitors in the scramble to sell funds through banks. In all, the data indicated, 10 companies account for the lion's share of fund sales through banks.

* NationsBank Corp. fields the largest fund sales force -- 440 registered representatives. It is followed by BankAmerica Corp. (400), Firstar Bank Milwaukee (400), Great Western Financial Corp. (375), and Citicorp (363). In all, Cerulli identified 30 bank and thrift companies with at least 100 registered representatives.

* Half of those interviewed said mutual funds are the most profitable investment product they sell. Annuities were cited by 16% of respondents.

* In 1993, mutual funds have supplanted stocks as the most popular investment product offered by bank brokerages.

* Variable annuities account for 41% of annuities sales through banks in 1993, up from 33% in 1992.

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