Tulsa-Based BOK Investment Advisors Targets Institutional Sector

Article excerpt

BOK Financial has rebranded subsidiary BOK Investment Advisors to help it carve out a bigger national share of institutional investors.

We've got a really good story to tell, said Douglas K. Scott, senior vice president and director of fund administration and marketing. When you can create more consistent returns with less portfolio risk, we believe you have a story that will be appreciated by institutional investors as well as individual investors.

On Monday, BOK will unveil Axia Investment Management - a name crafted to help open the doors to trillions of dollars in investment capital. Scott said a limited marketing campaign will launch the repackaged subsidiary, with a beefed-up staff to cull the institutional sector.

In September, Axia will enhance that by opening an office in New Jersey, outside the BOK Financial footprint.

M. Jake Dollarhide, chief executive of Longbow Asset Management Co. of Tulsa, suspects Axia will do quite well.

BOK has grown very consistently through the years, he said of the company's hub and spoke expansion through contiguous states. It's turned them into quite a powerhouse.

Dollarhide suggested adopting the Axia brand could give BOK a chance to reach customers seeking an investment firm with all the appearances of a Wall Street pedigree.

In every state, there's the top 1 percent highest-net-worth customers, he said, noting many forsake their native financial institutions for national investment firms. And BOK wants to track those customers. BOK wants to make sure they can protect that turf.

Scott helped choose the BOK subsidiary's new name with fellow executives J. Brian Henderson and Jean-Claude Gruet, plus the Columbus, Ohio-based marketing firm Be Creative. He said they drew Axia from the Greek language.

It translates as 'value,' he said.

Delivering and capitalizing on that message of value lies at the heart of this change. As Scott noted, many investment advisers measure a fund's performance by asset growth - an area where Axia's 13 funds have enjoyed strong success. But he pointed to consistency of returns as a higher standard.

A recent study of 7,237 mutual funds by the analysis firm Kanon Bloch Carre identified 119 that ranked in the top 25 percent of KBC's overall performance index (OPI) in every quarter for 23 consecutive quarters through 2005. Two of those All-Stars - the American Performance Short-term Income Fund and the American Performance Bond Fund - are managed by 16-year-old BOK Investment Advisors. …