State Street Boston Corp., which spent the 1970s establishing itself as a securities custodian, is reinventing itself again.
Eager to boost revenues from asset management, the $21.7 billion-asset banking company is about to unleash a worldwide advertising campaign promoting itself as a savvy, seasoned money manager.
The move comes on the heels of a reorganization earlier this month in State Street's global money management unit. At that time, executive vice president Nicholas A. Lopardo said State Street expects the money management business to grow 30% annually through the end of the decade.
To be sure, the company has no intention of turning its back on the profitable custody business that has made it a darling of bank stock analysts.
With $1.7 trillion of assets under custody, State Street derived most of its 1994 profits from securities operations and servicing.
One of the three ads that will make their debuts today trumpets State Street's leadership in the custody field and its investment in technology. But in a big shift, State Street is pouring the bulk of its advertising dollars into attracting institutional investors.
One competitor said State Street's new focus on money management has risks.
"If you're servicing money managers and then you go out and compete with them, it can come back and bite you," said the banker, who did not want his name used.
But others said State Street is wise to push itself beyond its familiar role as a custodian.
While custody is a highly profitable business, margins "have been driven down by competition and standardization," said Ellen M. Landry, a consultant with Cerulli Associates, Boston.
"In investment management, where they can expand their profits, there is just a much greater profit margin based on managing assets," Ms. Landry said. Right now, less than one-fifth of State Street's earnings come from money management, analysts say.
Though State Street manages $150 billion worldwide, this business has clearly been overshadowed by custody activities. This appears to be one reason for the advertising campaign.
"Given the competitiveness of the marketplace and the complexities of the environment, we felt it was necessary for us to redefine who we are, globally," said Frank D. Antin, a senior vice president at State Street. "Prior campaigns didn't do that."
State Street said the advertising will support a range of products and services that will be introduced in 1995. Mr. Antin declined to provide details, saying only that a new "information-based" offering will be launched by midyear.
The ads are scheduled to appear in several international publications, including the Financial Times, Toronto Globe and Mail, and Far East Economic Review. Domestically, they will appear in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and the Quincy, Mass. Patriot Ledger.
State Street declined to disclose what it will spend on the campaign.