Magazine article American Banker

SEI, Wooing Small Banks, Lowers Asset-Account Floor

Magazine article American Banker

SEI, Wooing Small Banks, Lowers Asset-Account Floor

Article excerpt

Technology and investment management company SEI Investments has reduced the minimum investment requirement on several of its asset management accounts to $100,000 in an effort to attract more community and regional banks.

Jerry Lezynski, a vice president of the individual investment product group at the Oaks, Pa., company, said the previous minimum investment of $250,000 per manager kept away a number of smaller banks that found it difficult to attract the kind of affluent investors required to meet minimums that high.

Brandon Sharret, a senior vice president of regional and community bank marketing at SEI, said that since each account has several managers, in the past, investors might need to have more than $1.5 million to qualify. Community banks often want to be able to offer asset management accounts to people with as little as $750,000, he said.

"Because we had high minimums, they weren't even looking at us," Mr. Lezynski said.

Tom Hessman, a senior vice president at Webster Trust Co., a subsidiary of the Waterbury, Conn.-based Webster Financial Corp., said market volatility has made more investors interested in managed accounts. Historically, investors needed millions of dollars to qualify for access to these kinds of accounts, but banks are trying to get investment management companies to reduce their minimums, he said.

Mr. Hessman said that Webster -- which offers managed account programs with a minimum investment requirement of $500,000 -- is looking at SEI's managed account program but has not decided whether to sign up.

Webster already uses SEI's operation technology, said Irma Lange, operations manager at the thrift company.

SEI's Mr. Lezynski said that reducing the minimum requirement also makes it easier for bank trust departments to customize SEI's program, since the bank can, if it chooses, add internal or external money managers to the program without substantially raising the minimum investment requirement. …

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