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Rating:Janus' Aspen Offshoot is Evergreen Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, November 24, 2000

Janus' Aspen Offshoot is Evergreen

Reported by Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Janus Funds is finding new ways to reach stockholders, both directly and indirectly. Between the success of its new intermediary-sold Advisor funds and the imminent launch of an upgraded Web site, Janus will get them coming and going.

On December 1, Janus will unveil its new Web site, updated with a sleeker look and simpler user interface. Most importantly, however, the company has joined the ranks of web-savvy funds which are taking advantage of new e-signature laws. Now, customers will be able to buy into funds with a click of the mouse.

"The reason we did this initiative was to offer more ways, better ways, more convenient ways, to do business," said Janus spokeswoman Shelley Peterson. "We want to offer our shareholders and clients better access to Janus."

Peterson explained that the push to offer on-line investing came from customers, but Janus does not diminish the stickiness offered by comprehensive web services.

In August, the company opened the flood gates with its eleven-fund Advisor series, which had been spun off of retirement shares from its institutional Aspen funds. Before the conversion, the retirement shares had $378 million in assets; today, the fund family manages $1.6 billion.

"There are people who want that intermediary access," said Peterson. "They didn't have that before at Janus."

With over 400 percent growth in less than three months, Janus has clearly found an avenue into an untapped market. The Advisor series has opened the door largely to bank trusts, which have needed access to non-tax-qualified accounts.

Janus is well aware of the need to find and keep customers now that the honeymoon of explosive growth is over.

"We now need to recognize that the kind of top-line growth we've seen at Janus over the last few years is likely to be gone forever," said marketing exec Stuart Novek in an internal memo leaked earlier this month to the Wall Street Journal.

As the stock market lags, even big performers have to tailor products and start emphasizing customer service, to maintain a market presence. 

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