Magazine article American Banker

SunTrust Aims for Fast Growth in Funds Business

Magazine article American Banker

SunTrust Aims for Fast Growth in Funds Business

Article excerpt

Eighteen months after jumping into the mutual fund game, Sun Trust Banks has set its sights on the big leagues.

The Atlanta-based banking company is planning a dramatic expansion in the coming year as it strives to strengthen its grip on the lucrative investment-management business.

A top bank executive said the mutual fund business is growing so steadily that there is plenty of room for Sun Trust to compete for market share with traditional fund companies and other banks.

"We're in the fourth inning of a nine-inning game," said John Race, executive vice president at SunBank Capital Management, Orlando.

Spotlight on Fund Family

The management company, a unit of SunTrust's Orlando-based SunBank subsidiary, shares mutual fund oversight duties with a sister company, Trustco Capital Management, Atlanta.

Right now, Suntrust is shining the spotlight on its retail offerings, a family of nine funds marketed under the STI Classic name.

The bank is aggressively promoting the funds in North Florida in an advertising campaign that includes television, radio, and print ads.

SunTrust plans to follow the media blitz by introducing six new fund portfolios on Jan. 1. And by the middle of next year, the fund family will expand further, with the addition of some international funds.

Fueling Growth

The activity is meant to put wind in the sails of a mutual fund business that has already seen considerable growth.

Institutional and retail fund assets jumped to $3.7 billion as of Sept. 30, more than double the $1.6 billion level of one year earlier, according to a ranking prepared for the American Banker by Lipper Analytical Servicer, Summit, N.J.

In the North Florida advertising campaign, SunBank is putting the focus on investors' worries about protecting their income and retirement savings against higher taxes, among other things. …

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