is the latest of the fund companies to eliminate the no-load status of some of its funds. In this case, the nation's largest brokerage firms is adding loads to 10 Hotchkiss & Wiley funds and folding them into the Mercury Funds brand. The changes continue Merrill's streamlining of its fund branding under Mark Cone
. The firm explained that the move is part of an ongoing campaign to add depth to Mercury's lineup of mutual funds and build the Mercury brand name.
The changes mean that Merrill will no longer offer Mercury Funds and Mercury HW Funds through third-party retail or direct channels that fail to charge a sales load, transaction fee or wrap fee. Altogether, Mercury Funds have more than $25 billion in assets under management.
"Now more than ever people are looking for advice and assistance, especially with today's market volatility," said Mark Cone, managing director of Mercury Funds. "Increasingly they're seeking the counsel of outside advisors, and they're willing to pay to have their money in the best funds."
An important part of the changes is an addition of loads to the ten funds. The new share classes where vary from fund to fund. Merrill said the addition of loads to those funds is being done to broaden distribution of the funds through financial advisors. Those funds are adding "A", "B", "C" and "I" share classes.
Of the ten funds, three are being converted to multi-class load funds, offering investors up to four alternative ways to purchase shares. Two other funds will have two classes, four funds will be limited to only Class I.
Merrill began to brand its fund business with the Mercury Funds label earlier this year. The change will effect 10 Hotchkiss and Wiley funds. The names of each equity fund will be changed to either Mercury HW funds. Other funds will simply take the Mercury funds label.
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