We have completed our conversions. For most banks, a conversion gives a better product for trust clients.
People can get in and out [of mutual funds] on a daily basis, versus the old common trust and commingled funds that were [valued] primarily on a monthly or weekly basis. In today's volatile markets, that certainly adds flexibility.
I truly don't see any dangers with a conversion.
It adds one additional level of compliance or regulation, in that the SEC becomes involved when you have a mutual fund. There's possibly better disclosure than there was with common and commingled funds.
We have not actually done any trust conversions yet.
Legally, we cannot do so, as our trust business is primarily out of New York State.
However, as the New York State legislature looks at this issue, we will, of course, look at trust conversions as one possible mode of continuing to use mutual funds to make our investment management operations more efficient.
I don't think there are any dangers to converting [trust assets to] mutual funds, as long as you stay true to the investment objectives that are right for your trust clients and not try to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Conversions were very important to launching the funds. Otherwise, it would have been a long, drawn-out process of trying to build the necessary mass of profitability.
We converted about $160 million of pooled retirement monies about three years ago. Finally, our common funds collapsed as customers drained out of them.
We do not have any common or pooled trust funds left to convert. We are merging with First Interstate, and I know they are thinking about conversions.
Clients must fully understand how the funds work and the various expenses involved. And, they have to understand the benefits of the funds - the portability of shares.