Magazine article American Banker

Firstar Says Efforts to Instill Market Savvy on Customers Helps to Keep Them Loyal

Magazine article American Banker

Firstar Says Efforts to Instill Market Savvy on Customers Helps to Keep Them Loyal

Article excerpt

Firstar Corp. is claiming dividends from a pair of efforts to educate investors in its mutual funds.

The Milwaukee-based regional banking company is including in its

shareholder statements unusually detailed analyses of its mutual fund portfolios.

Firstar is also sending investors newsletters meant to make them savvier money managers.

The payoff has been that retail investors have tended to keep money in the Portico funds even when returns have lagged as markets have suffered.

"The better-informed and better-educated clients make better decisions," said Mary Ellen Stanek, president of Firstar Investment Research and Management Co.

Among other responsibilities, this money management arm of Firstar manages the company's Portico mutual fund family, which has $2.5 billion in 15 portfolios.

Currently, 80% of the money in the Portico Funds is from institutional investors. But Firstar aims to get more retail investors.

To help ensure that these investors understand what they buy, Firstar is including lengthy discussions of the investment strategies, types of investments, principal volatility, and yield of its mutual funds in

shareholder statements.

These analyses are supposed to be much lengthier and more informative than the perfunctory one- or two-page performance analyses in most

shareholder statements.

Also, since last summer Firstar has been sending a quarterly newsletter to investors - written by an outside ghostwriter - which deals with trends in the marketplace and answers specific questions. …

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