Bank One Corp. has named Bill Brownson to lead a renewed effort to attract investment dollars from charitable organizations and nonprofit companies.
Mr. Brownson, 36, is to lead the new nonprofit and charitable services unit, part of Banc One Investment Management, the Columbus, Ohio, investment arm of the Chicago banking company.
Mr. Brownson, who was appointed last week, said it is too soon to discuss strategies. However, he said, Bank One might use mutual funds to attract charities and nonprofits.
The sector "is an attractive segment with significant growth potential," Mr. Brownson said. "We already have a stake in this area, and we want to increase it."
Mr. Brownson said he is looking to attract nonprofit corporations such as large hospitals, university endowments, and family foundations. He declined to say how much of the $124.7 billion of assets Bank One manages is for charities and nonprofits.
The banking company manages some assets for the sector in its wealth and institutional services distribution division but usually in separate accounts. Mr. Brownson said.
He previously was director of product management for the company's custody unit. He joined Bank One in 1991 as an operations and relationship manager. The company has not named a successor to Mr. Brownson.
W. Christopher Maxwell, a principal at Maxwell & Associates of Rock Hall, Md., said the charitable market has always been important for banking companies that sell investment services. Only now are these services being offered in a mutual fund wrapper. As more charities invested in mutual funds, banks had to create financial strategies geared to them, he said.
If banks want to handle high-net-worth investors, they must be serious about serving charitable markets, Mr. Maxwell added.
"A person on the board of St. Mary's Church, or the Boy Scouts, or a temple is the same person who is on the board at Bristol-Myers, and he is accustomed to getting a high level of service," he said. "If a bank does a good job for your church or your charity, perhaps the high-net-worth company you work for during business hours will come knocking next."
Other banking companies have also begun to focus on charities and nonprofit corporations. Cleveland-based KeyCorp formed a group a year and a half ago to better serve nonprofit investors. It had served nonprofit companies for decades, chief operating officer Brad Turner said, but the specialized group was formed because the segment has characteristics of both the high-net-worth and institutional markets.
"There is a growth in this type of investing," Mr. Turner said, "and banks need to offer them separate, specialized services."