Pioneer Group has folded its dedicated bank wholesalers in with its other wholesalers to cut costs and cover the country more efficiently.
"Basically we just decided to share resources," said Barry G. Knight, the head of bank distribution for Pioneer.
Before March 1, Pioneer had seven bank wholesalers. It now has six who devote 80% of their time to banks and 15 who devote 20% of their time to banks, he said.
Four others do not cover banks at the moment, Mr. Knight said, but all the wholesalers are capable of covering any channel.
The company also uses its wholesalers to distribute through brokerages, insurance companies, and independent financial planners.
Boston-based Pioneer has been looking for ways to cut costs after losing $33.5 million last year because of disappointing overseas ventures such as timber and gold-mining operations.
The reorganization will cut down the traveling that the wholesalers must do, Mr. Knight said. It also makes sense to wholesale across distribution channels because more and more banks and brokerages are merging, he said.
A case in point is Citigroup, created last year by the merger of Citicorp and Travelers Group. The combined company recently adopted a short list of top fund providers for its Citigroup Investment Services and Primerica Financial Services units.
Pioneer made that list, which is considered a coup because Citigroup has massive retail distribution clout. Pioneer is to start distributing through Citigroup at the beginning of April.
Mr. Knight said Pioneer remains committed to selling through banks. Sales through banks were up 40% in January and February over the same period a year earlier, he said.
In addition to having more wholesaler hours-if not dedicated representatives-Mr. Knight has help from a team of key account managers.
Before the reorganization he was the sole key account representative for banks. Mr. Knight has taken on new responsibilities in training wholesalers, adding the title "director of sales development" to his bank chief moniker.
Pioneer had $3.9 billion in fund sales in the United States last year, with about 10% of that coming through banks. It has $21 billion of assets under management in its domestic mutual funds.