First Tennessee National Corp. has a new administrator and distributor for its proprietary mutual fund family, the First Funds.

Alps Mutual Fund Services, Denver, announced it has snared the mutual fund contract with the $10.9 billion-asset banking company, which is based in Memphis. Previously, First Tennessee had distributed its funds through a unit of Fidelity Investments.

Distributors like Alps handle a wide range of duties that are off-limits to banks, such as striking sales deals with brokerages and registering funds with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Administrators typically handle back-office duties, including fund accounting.

First Tennessee, like many banks, also plans to tap its distributor for help in developing products and sales strategies, Alps said in a press release.

With $475 million in assets as of June 30, the First Funds rank 81st among bank proprietary mutual fund families, according to Lipper Analytical Services, Summit, N.J.

Currently, the First Funds consists of six portfolios. Four are money market funds sold exclusively to institutional investors. The others are a stock fund and a bond fund that are offered to both retail and institutional investors.

First Tennessee expects to add seventh portfolio - a Tennessee tax- exempt fund that is now in registration with the SEC - this fall, Alps said.

Alps' other bank clients include the proprietary mutual fund families of Marine Midland Bank, Buffalo, N.Y., and First Interstate Bancorp, Los Angeles.

"With the addition of First Funds to our client list, we're a step closer to our goal of having bank and affinity clients across the country with no overlapping territories," said Mark Pougnet, Alps' chief financial officer, in a prepared statement.

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