NationsSecurities is adding sales representatives at a faster pace than initially anticipated to meet investor demand for mutual funds, according to executives heading the program.

The company, a joint venture between NationsBank of North Carolina and Dean Witter Financial Services, "has exceeded our expectations," said James F. Higgins, president of Dean Witter.

Mr. Higgins said sales of mutual funds have come in ahead of target, forcing the company to add sales representatives more quickly than scheduled.

640 Brokers Seen by Yearend

The joint venture, which opened for business six months ago, was to employ 400 sales representatives by the end of 1993.

Instead, the company will have 640 brokers in the field by yearend, said G. Patrick Phillips, president of NationsBank Financial Products.

NationsSecurities' progress has been carefully watched because it marks the first time that a major retail brokerage and a big bank have teamed up to jointly supply investment products through branches.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency approved the effort in April, after attaching 12 conditions to enforce disclosures to customers.

The "tremendous" response to the program convinced executives to accelerate its roll-out, Mr. Higgins said.

But he and bank officials are tight lipped about dollar volume. They say only that sales of mutual funds have topped projections, and that NationsBank's own funds are slightly outpacing the amount of Dean Witter funds sold.

"That might be expected because you're operating within the bank's franchise system," Mr. Phillips said.

He added that non-bank, customers are making half the purchases.

NationsSecurities will continue adding sales representatives as the program grows from over 400 branches to 700 by the end of next year, Mr. Phillips said.

There is plenty of room for growth after that, as well. NationsBank's retail network includes 1,900 branches in nine states. NationsSecurities apparently isn't hurting for applicants. "We get 8 to 10 for every slot," Mr. Higgins said.

In culling from these ranks, NationsSecurities steers away from people with brokerage backgrounds in favor of applicants with selling experience in other areas. Mr. Phillips said.

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