Amid lean times, some mutual fund companies are resorting to old- fashioned wining and dining in their efforts to drum up sales through banks.

One morning last week, Zweig Securities Corp. packed a corporate dining room with about 60 bankers and investment representatives from Bank of New York Co. to hear a speech by Nick Murray, a financial services guru.

The company wooed its guests with a sumptuous breakfast before launching into its combined pep rally and sales pitch.

Reporters were ordered out of the room as soon as the plates were cleared, but Zweig's fund wholesaler in Manhattan, John Maxwell, said the talk would center around "how investment reps can succeed in the '90s."

The company has made no secret of its desire to make it on the short lists of banks. Its willingness to offer up time and money to motivate bank reps to sell more funds, is seen by industry insiders as just one more concession that fund companies are having to make to banks.

Mr. Murray, known for his fiery motivational speeches and hard-edged approach to investment sales, was hired by Zweig to speak to several of the company's bank clients that day, including Summit Bancorp. and Chase Manhattan Corp.

In a recent magazine article for investment professionals, Mr. Murray wrote, "Brokers add value only when they make people see that what they want to do is opposite of what they need to do."

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