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Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Measuring Continental Drift

Reported by Alfred Wang

Responding to din from fund companies over the $3.5 trillion European market, Wiesenberger is moving dozens of staff members into place to create a database of offshore fund data, extending its investmentview.net product overseas as virtually every large fund company positions itself for the newest European colonization.

The expanded version of the often private-labeled product introduces the capacity to create hypothetical portfolios, compliant with local regulations, from offshore funds denominated in dollars and other currencies. According to Ramy Shalaan, a Wiesenberger spokesperson, dollar-denominated funds constitute approximately half of those currently available.

"We're trying to partner with US clients who have asked us to make the same tools in the US available to the off-shore market," said Michael Iapalucci, executive vice president of international business development.

Already, Fidelity Investments, Franklin Templeton, Fred Alger Management, and the Davis Funds have made visible moves on offshore investments.

Although similarly-aimed databases have been attempted before, Wiesenberger differentiates its product by its methodology: partnering with different clients and distibutors to obtain accurate data that's important to the marketing tasks for which customers ask.

"If you try building comprehensive databases [with unavailable data], the nature of the proposition is that you'll get bad data." said Iapalucci. "Our clients have built-in data cleansing."

With the increasing number of business strategies emphasizing offshore funds and non-resident alien (NRA) investors, Wiesenberger and Thompson Financial executives see an opportunity window opening.

"We've dedicated a lot of resources to this area and we expect a significant return," said Iapulucci.

Although the majority of offshore funds currently being targeted is expressed in dollars, future versions of the product may make euro-denominated, sterling-denominated, and swiss franc-denominated data available.  

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