Magazine article American Banker

J.P. Morgan's Retail Funds Now Bear Its Name; Changes Are Intended to Enhance Recognition among Investing Public

Magazine article American Banker

J.P. Morgan's Retail Funds Now Bear Its Name; Changes Are Intended to Enhance Recognition among Investing Public

Article excerpt

Hoping to appeal to retail investors, J.P. Morgan & Co. has changed the name of its proprietary mutual fund family.

Previously known as the JPM Pierpont Funds, the bank's retail portfolios on Tuesday were renamed the J.P. Morgan Funds.

The bank's institutional portfolios also got a new name, swapping JPM Institutional for J.P. Morgan Institutional.

The moves are designed to give Morgan's funds, which have $12 billion of assets under management, a brand name more closely aligned to the bank's corporate identity, said George C.W. Gatch, a vice president responsible for J.P. Morgan's U.S. mutual funds.

The old monikers may have been too arcane for the investing public to recognize, he said.

"People in the financial industry would know that JPM is the ticker for J.P. Morgan, or that Pierpont was the middle name of Junius Pierpont Morgan," Mr. Gatch said. "Outside, the JPM or Pierpont name was not well known."

The change also comes as J.P. Morgan prepares to close its $900 million deal this month for 45% of American Century, a Kansas City, Mo., mutual fund company with a large retail client base.

The day after announcing the deal, J.P. Morgan dropped the minimum investment for its Pierpont funds to $2,500, from $100,000.

J.P. Morgan's name change was only recently allowed by the Federal Reserve Board.

To prevent consumer confusion between mutual funds and insured deposits, member banks had long been barred from using similar names on funds.

A revised regulation last year, however, allows similar names as long as they are not identical and do not include the word "bank. …

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