IBJ Schroder Bank and Trust has received permission from federal regulators to launch a new family of mutual funds.

The New York-based bank, a subsidiary of the Industrial Bank of Japan, will introduce the IBJ Funds Trust sometime in the next few weeks, officials said.

The fund family is a first for the $7 billion-asset bank, which largely focuses on trust services for corporate clients. Much of the bank's business comes from Japanese subsidiaries operating in the United States.

Lawrence Chong, division executive in charge of corporate and institutional trust services, said the bank launched the funds in order to be more competitive in the growing 401(k) market.

"You have to have this type of product to compete in this market," said Mr. Chong. "People are asking for the flexibility of mutual funds."

He explained that unlike the trust funds the banking company has operated, the new mutual funds will disclose prices daily in the newspaper. It also will be easier for investors to transfer assets into the mutual funds from other portfolios. The bank will seed the IBJ Funds with $150 million of trust assets, Mr. Chong said.

The funds will not carry a sales charge, and will be comprised of growth and income, money market, bond, and equity portfolios. Minimum initial investments will be $1,000.

IBJ Schroder will manage the funds and Furman Selz, of New York, will sponsor, administer, and distribute them.

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