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Rating:Fund Flow Horse Race Headlines are Likely a Thing of the Past ... For Now Not Rated 1.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fund Flow Horse Race Headlines are Likely a Thing of the Past ... For Now

Reported by Erin Kello

Bowing to fund firm pressure, FRC has pulled the plug on giving the press looks at net fund flows for mutual fund complexes. The move leaves a void that will likely be filled by another. In April, Sam Campbell, director of research at FRC told the MFWire in an e-mail of the decision to pull the information from release.

The decision to stop sharing the data with the press, and through the press the broader public, comes at time when nearly all major fund forms are seeing outflows for the first time in half a decade. In the past few months outflows have plagued almost all of the major fund companies and it makes sense that many are not happy about FRC providing negative data to the media.

Picking up the story in today's WSJ Fund Track, reporter Diya Gullapalli quoted Campbell: "We want to become more of an advocate to clients, and if part of that is shielding them from negative press, it's probably good for us and for them," he told the paper.

Fidelity spokespeople, in particular, had expressed displeasure to the MFWire that FRC did not include money market flows in its monthly data. A spokesperson for Fidelity pointed out that money funds are a major source of flows and revenue for the company.

Another reason that may have played into the decision is a change in ownership at FRC, a contention that FRC's top brass deny. The research firm is now owned by CitiGroup, a member of the large institutional club, which is less likely to rock the boat by providing unfavorable data than an entrepreneurial firm such as the old FRC before its acquisition by Bisys (Bisys was acquired by Citi last year).

Michael Evans, president of FRC, stated emphatically that "Citigroup had no impact on the decision" to stop offering the fund complex level to the media.

While established firms may get little marketing lift by offering the data to the media to win a boost in profile, that may not be the case for all firms. Look for the sales data at the complex level to crop up again soon though, the data is relatively easy to collect and an entrepreneurial research shop that isn't afraid of making waves will undoubtedly see an opening here to gain branding on the cheap by providing the headline information to reporters. 

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