NationsBank Corp. will soon be marketing a greater variety of top-name mutual funds, sources said.
In the first quarter, NationsBank's full-service brokers will begin selling Fidelity Investments' Advisor Funds, confirmed William O'Grady, executive vice president of Fidelity Investments Institutional Services.
NationsBank will also start actively selling funds from AIM Capital Management, Franklin Resources, Van Kampen Merritt/American Capital, and Capital Research and Management.
With the exception of Fidelity, these other fund families have been featured on NationsBank's preferred list for the past year, according to a banking company spokesman. But some fund firms have argued that NationsBank hasn't made a strong effort to promote the funds to its customers.
"Many of those companies have not had access to NationsBank's reps. They may be on the list but no one is selling their funds," said one mutual fund executive, who requested anonymity.
Since 1994, NationsBank's brokers have mostly sold the proprietary NationsFunds, as well as funds from Putnam Investments, Alliance Capital Management, and Dean Witter, Discover & Co., industry insiders said.
But now NationsBank may be looking to boost the appeal of its mutual fund offerings by adding Fidelity and actively promoting other funds companies, said Les Dinkin, a consultant with NBW Consulting, Westport, Conn.
"Fidelity is clearly the biggest and most well known name out there," Mr. Dinkin said. "By adding them, NationsBank's reps can start a conversation around one family and then segue into a discussion about their other offerings."
In recent months, several mutual fund companies have made presentations to NationsBank executives in the hopes of signing sales agreements, said one mutual fund executive, who asked not to be identified.
"If you had to pick 20 banks that are going to survive consolidation, then NationsBank would be on that list," the executive said. "Plus, if you want to penetrate the Southeast, then NationsBank is the biggest bank you can be in."
NationsBank, which has been restructuring its investment businesses over the past year, also has plans to offer the NationsFunds without sales charges, or loads, beginning in January.