Deutsche Bank AG plans to add wholesalers as it expands the family of mutual funds it sells in North America.
This quarter, Deutsche Bank is to add 16 wholesalers, for a total of 28, to sell the Flag Investors Funds. The wholesalers are to work with third-party brokers, a distribution channel in which the bank wants to do more, said Ross Youngman, managing director for the mutual fund business of Deutsche Asset Management in the Americas.
"We're looking to build a global asset management brand by focusing very narrowly on a few select channels," Mr. Youngman said.
The bank is to add six mutual funds -- for a total of 15 -- including a large-cap U.S. equity fund and an international fund to the roster at its Alex. Brown & Sons unit, Mr. Youngman said.
To round out the Flag group, Deutsche Bank said, it will introduce region-specific funds that invest in the equity funds of Japan, Europe, Asia, and the United States.
The bank said it will continue advertising its funds in the financial press; among those to be spotlighted are the Flag Communications Fund, which has a five-star ranking from Morningstar Inc. and was up 45% last year, Mr. Youngman said.
The Flag funds have $11 billion of assets under management and were begun in 1984 by Alex. Brown, a firm Deutsche Bank acquired in its Bankers Trust deal last year.
Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank has been building its asset management capabilities since buying Bankers Trust.
It is taking the right steps to strengthen the operation, said Michael Evans, an analyst at Financial Research Corp. in Boston.
"Anyone who is serious about the mutual fund business has got to put resources behind it," Mr. Evans said. "The industry is becoming so commoditized that companies have to take steps to stand apart."
In January, Deutsche Bank combined the no-load mutual funds of Bankers Trust with similar portfolios from its Morgan Grenfell subsidiary in a $35 billion-asset family bearing the Deutsche name. The 45 funds are offered primarily to registered investment advisers, financial planners, and trust departments.
Deutsche Bank's Bankers Trust deal, which closed last June, brought with it the $32 billion-asset BT funds. Deutsche bought Morgan Grenfell, with $3 billion of fund assets, in 1990.