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Thursday, January 11, 2001

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Reported by Tamiko Toland

Payden & Rygel has changed the name of its mutual fund arm. The firm's name has been compressed to Paydenfunds in an effort to create a more easily recognizable name for consumers.

Although the firm is not particularly web-centric, the new name is particularly suited for ease of use on the internet.

"That's an ancillary benefit, said Greg Brown, president of Paydenfunds. "We obviously do have a commitement to delivering to our clients over the internet. We've got a new Web site that went up on January 2nd."

The parent company and advisor will retain the full moniker, which is well established in the institutional arena. Funds represent less than ten percent of the firm's $35 billion in assets under management.

"On the institutional side, Payden & Rygel is really well known. On the retail, it's less well known," said Brown. "We thought, if we're going to create a brand identity, it's much easier with a name like Paydenfunds than Payden & Rygel."

Is there a branding campaign in the air for the firm?

"Not in a typical consumer product sense, in that there will not be a huge advertising campaign to create a brand," said Brown.

The firm has a very low-key approach to its marketing, selling its strictly no-load funds through supermarkets as well as through fee-based advisors. While RIAs are a key component for sales, the firm hasn't aggressively sought after the market and doesn't even have wholesalers.

"We have a couple of people here internally have that targeted the advisor market both through direct mail through internet and through a focused calling program," said Brown. "We do not really have wholesalers. We just have three people internally who are focused on the advisor market. Our approach is really educational. We're not pushing product; we're trying to fill needs."

In many ways, Paydenfunds has what advisors are looking for: a little-known brand with consistent performance and an open attitude towards advisors. The firm has moved slowly in upping its distribution, gathering $3 billion in assets in twenty-one funds over the course of seven years. Nonetheless, it can afford to bide its time, backed by the funding and investment firepower of its primary business. 

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