Lacy B. Herrmann has relied on a simple formula to carve out a niche in the mutual fund business: "Get in fast, get in early, and partner up with the strongest bank money manager in the area."

That's the tack his firm, Aquila Management Corp., took when it helped Bancorp Hawaii start its first municipal bond fund in 1985. The fund, which Aquila launched with $100,000, has grown to more than $670 million today, and is Hawaii's largest municipal fund.

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