First Union Corp. set a one-day mutual fund sales record Monday for its Evergreen family, raking in $100 million of assets with the launching of a portfolio.
The new fund, Evergreen Masters, attracted another $67 million Tuesday, a First Union spokesman said. Evergreen's 90 mutual funds have $55.2 billion of assets under management.
Masters is advised by Evergreen Asset Management Corp., a unit of the Charlotte, N.C., banking company, and is subadvised by MFS Institutional Investors Inc., OppenheimerFunds, and Putnam Investments.
Client dollars are invested in four strategies: mid-cap value, managed by Stephen A. Lieber of Evergreen; mid-cap growth, by Mark Regan of MFS; large-cap value, by Charles Albers and Nikolaos Monoyios of OppenheimerFunds; and large-cap growth, by C. Beth Cotner, Richard England, and Manuel Weiss of Putnam. Each company is responsible for about one- quarter of the fund's assets.
The array of brand names attached to the Masters fund gives it strong appeal, said William Ennis, chief operating officer of First Union's capital management group and president of Evergreen Investment Management.
"The multimanager approach created a distinct gravitational pull" on investors, Mr. Ennis said.
Observers agreed that Masters' star-studded marquee was a big draw for investors.
"They're trying to basically take names of firms that people are familiar with-Oppenheimer, Putnam, MFS-that are traditional household names within the broker-dealer environment," said Geoffrey H. Bobroff, a mutual fund consultant in East Greenwich, R.I.
The fund should be marketed to long-term investors, Mr. Bobroff added, because gains in one strategy could be offset by losses in another during a short time frame.
The Masters fund would be most appealing to retail investors who seek a "fair degree of diversification in a small package," said Lewis J. Walker, a certified financial planner and principal of Walker Capital Management Corp., a registered investment adviser in Norcross, Ga.
The fund has been promoted since November in a campaign Mr. Ennis called "probably our most rigorous marketing approach."
Half the sales were made through broker-dealers, primarily Merrill Lynch & Co. The remainder were made through the banking company's two retail brokerage units, First Union Brokerage Services and Wheat First Union.
Launching the fund on the first business day of the year also helped, Mr. Ennis said.
"The beginning of the year begins the tax season, which is the high season" for mutual fund sales, he said. "The timing was instrumental in its success."
The Evergreen fund family's previous one-day sales record was $80 million for its Florida High Income Municipal Bond Fund. Started in 1992, the fund set this mark last April 3 after a big promotion, Mr. Ennis said.