Alliance Capital Management to Split off Bank Sales Staff

Article excerpt

Alliance Capital Management, seeking to increase its mutual fund sales through banks, plans to develop a sales and support staff dedicated to that distribution channel.

The New York-based fund company plans to hire a national sales manager for banks and put that person in charge of 14 bank wholesalers, said Richard A. Davies, managing director of its financial institutions and advisers division.

Seven traveling wholesalers would be spun off from a cadre of 14 wholesalers who now handle banks, financial advisers, and financial planners. The others would continue to focus on advisers and planners.

The seven, who would travel throughout the country, would be backed by an equal number who would provide support services to banks over the phone. The changes are to be completed by the end of the first quarter, Mr. Davies said.

A "handful" of new wholesalers would be hired as part of the effort, an Alliance spokesman said.

Splitting the sales forces represents Alliance's most recent bid to reinvigorate its bank distribution business. Alliance saw its bank sales fall after the 1994 bond market slump, which hurt some of the company's most popular funds.

Although Alliance now boasts a diverse family of equity funds, it has also struggled to change its image as a bond fund company.

Alliance reorganized its sales force in late 1996 to focus more on banks, planners, and advisers, and moved from a geographic to a distribution-channel-focused sales structure. It also nearly tripled, from 5 to 14, the number of wholesalers in its financial institution and advisers division.

Aware that shelf space at banks is tight, Alliance plans to woo banks by providing training. …