Signet Banking Corp. is hoping to attract retail customers with an affordable asset-allocation product designed to offer investment options previously available only to more affluent clients.
The Richmond, Va.-based, $10 billion-asset banking company is marketing its mutual fund wrap account, dubbed Imprint, through its brokerage affiliate, Signet Financial Services.
The lure is that customers could invest as little as $10,000 to get portfolio diversification services previously available only to investors who put up at least $100,000.
"If you look at the wealthiest slice of America, you'll see asset allocation is a very common investment option," said James Eads, president of Signet Financial Services. "We're trying to bring that level of service to anyone with investable assets."
The company is charging only about 1% of total assets held as a fee for the service, compared with the 2% or 3% that is the industry standard for mutual fund wrap accounts, Mr. Eads said.
So far, the product seems to be popular with bank customers. Since their introduction in early March, Imprint accounts have drawn about 22% of Signet's total mutual fund sales.
Signet chooses from more than 5,600 mutual fund portfolios for its wrap accounts, including the company's proprietary Virtus Funds. Back-end loads for these funds have been waived for Imprint customers.
Also available are several no-load funds from Fidelity Investments, T. Rowe Price, Janus Capital Corp., Twentieth Century Cos., and Wellington Management Co.
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