Northern Trust Corp.'s investment management arm has hired a 10-year U.S. Bancorp veteran, Eric Schweitzer, to help it expand its mutual fund business beyond the Midwest.
Northern Trust Global Investments on Thursday named Mr. Schweitzer, 39, senior vice president and director of mutual fund distribution, product management, and client services. Arch King, who had headed the mutual fund businesses, has been reassigned to head the Chicago banking company's electronic commerce initiatives.
Mr. Schweitzer "has what it takes to make Northern Trust a national player," said Lloyd Wennlund, managing director of mutual funds for Northern Trust, noting the new hire's 17 years of financial industry experience. "This is part of our continued commitment to investment management. Our mutual funds have been very successful, but in order to continue these successes we need to hire people who can make the products grow and help bring success to the table."
Mr. Schweitzer was managing director of mutual funds for Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp. He oversaw product management, shareholder servicing, internal wholesaling, institutional relationship management, and mutual fund and 401(k) marketing. Previously he managed mutual fund distribution for Boatmen's Trust Co. and was director of client services at Bisys Investment Services.
Mr. Schweitzer said it was at U.S. Bancorp that he learned how to position funds.
"Our funds at U.S. Bancorp were never given preferential treatment, not even in the branches," he said. "We were constantly competing with Piper Jaffrey" - a unit of the bank - "and other third-party funds. That is what this is all about: getting your funds to stand out against all the rest."
Mr. Schweitzer said he is confident that Northern Trust has the distribution capabilities to compete nationally, but he is realistic.
"We don't have the depth to go to the front of the ranks just yet, but we have good niches," he said. "We need to exploit areas in our existing client base for deeper penetration. We need to focus on the bank's success of growing assets on a long-term basis. Growth will fuel more growth."
Northern Trust's mutual fund family has $37.9 billion of assets under management, and in August the bank introduced a large-cap fund. An Aggressive Growth Opportunities fund to be added at the end of September will make the fund family 51 strong.
"We have high expectations here, and hiring someone like Eric only makes them higher," Mr. Wennlund said.