Magazine article American Banker

B of A Fee Unit, Growing Rapidly, Adds Flexible Plan

Magazine article American Banker

B of A Fee Unit, Growing Rapidly, Adds Flexible Plan

Article excerpt

Bank of America's consulting services group has started a multiple-style investment program in an effort to attract affluent people by broadening its roster of fee-based products.

Consulting Services Portfolio Strategies is a managed account program in which multiple managers can oversee a multistyle product within one account, the company said Monday. Previously, an investor who wanted four investment styles would have to open four managed accounts. The new product is distributed through more than 1,150 advisers at Banc of America Investment Services Inc.

Dan McNamara, the managing director of the consulting services group, said this is the first product of its kind offered by Bank of America. Competitors like the mutual fund giant Vanguard, through its managed solutions program, offer a similar product.

Mr. McNamara said this is the next step in the evolution of fee-based products at Bank of America. Unlike managed accounts and mutual fund wrap programs that attracted only specific market segments, he said, this product will be popular across the board, to affluent, high-net-worth, and ultra-high-net-worth investors.

"This product is very versatile for different clients and different client situations," he said.

Mr. McNamara said managed accounts' tax efficiency and customizable features are crucial for wealthy people.

The fee-based business has expanded rapidly in the past three years. The Money Management Institute, a managed account trade group, said assets in the accounts rose 29% last year, to more than half a trillion dollars. The asset total was $506.63 billion at Dec. 31, up 11% from $456.29 billion at Sept. 30 and up from $391.86 billion the year earlier.

The consulting services group at Bank of America has seen fast growth since being started in April 2002, Mr. McNamara said. Assets in the Charlotte banking company's fee-based programs grew 350% last year, to $9 billion at Dec. …

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