Magazine article American Banker

ABA Program Offers Fund Advice by Phone

Magazine article American Banker

ABA Program Offers Fund Advice by Phone

Article excerpt

Seeking to appeal to smaller banks, the American Bankers Association has added a phone service to the turnkey investment products program it endorsed last year.

Dubbed Wall Street Connection, the new service enables banks' customers to talk to licensed securities representatives in New York via toll-free telephone numbers.

The service is designed for smaller banks that cannot afford full-service brokerage programs, but want to provide their customers with sophisticated investment advice.

Wall Street Connection is the latest wrinkle in a third-party investment products program sanctioned by the ABA one year ago. Run by Wall Street Investor Services, the program includes full-service and discount brokerage options.

Big Up-Front Costs Avoided

The new addition, ABA officials said, will appeal to banks that want to offer more than discount brokerage, where customers receive little or no investment advice, but less than a large-scale program, where sales representatives are stationed in branches.

It gives smaller banks "the ability to offer full-service brokerage without huge upfront costs," said ABA executive vice president Donald Ogilvie.

With the Wall Street Connection, banks can offer their customers increasingly popular asset allocation accounts, which spread investment choices over a number of products to meet specific goals, like retirement.

Customers would speak by telephone to Wall Street Investor employees, who would assess their needs and help them build their portfolios.

Wall Street Investor will rely primarily on mutual funds from Federated Securities and Fidelity Investments, and annuities supplied by Holden Group. …

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