In his years as a wholesaler, peddling funds with sometimes mediocre returns, Rick Groom, the new head of Dreyfus Corp.s internal wholesaling group, learned one thing about getting intermediaries attention: guilt sells.
If wholesalers have developed solid relationships with the salespeople at banks, brokers, and advisory firms that sell third-party mutual funds, he explained, theyll be much more inclined to sell your funds than otherwise.
That is the model Mr. Groom will use to sell more Dreyfus funds through independent financial advisers, the channel with the most room for growth right now, he said.
Mr. Groom, formerly with J.P. Morgan Fleming Asset Management, joined New York-based Dreyfus on Monday as national sales manager and head of the Mellon Financial Corp. subsidiarys internal wholesaling group. He is responsible for 50 employees whose focus is to make more sales of mutual funds, separate accounts, and variable annuity portfolios.
He reports to Mike Millard, who oversees all sales. Mr. Groom succeeded Brad Orben, who was promoted.
Dreyfus internal wholesaling group has grown at a blistering pace the last several years, matching intermediary-sales growth across the mutual fund industry, Mr. Groom said. But he conceded that its growth through independent advisers has lagged a bit.
As a wholesaler for Chase, Mr. Groom learned about some of the differences between financial advisers and wire house brokers. For instance, a rep at a large brokerage has access to that firms market research, and the smaller adviser generally does not have that resource. He said building this business means spending time with all the advisers one at a time to help them get what they need to do their jobs better.
The key is finding a way to become a true partner with the adviser, he said.
Dreyfus also wants to be more aggressive with individually managed accounts programs, which are in growing demand, Mr. Groom said.
In 2002, he said, it will consider hiring more wholesalers as sales through advisers grow and look into doing more online wholesaling to fill gaps in far-flung territories. But he said that though he is intrigued by e-wholesalings potential to increase efficiency and help in training new wholesalers, he does not aim to make Dreyfus a leader in Web wholesaling.
Let some other groups doing this stumble before we do it, he said.
Before joining Dreyfus, Mr. Groom was a managing director at J.P. Morgan Fleming, where he managed internal wholesaling teams for the disparate Morgan, Fleming, and Chase organizations. Before that he was managing director of retail client management at Chase Global Asset Management and Mutual Funds Group. Before joining Chase he spent five years at Van Eck Global, where he rose from senior marketing specialist to director of telemarketing to regional director.
Dreyfus manages upward of $150 billion in more than 190 mutual fund portfolios.