ow long will Invesco manage to retain its independence? More importantly, is the decision by the firm to add loads seal its fate as a brand? Those are just a couple of the questions raised by the fund firm's decision to drop its direct sales efforts and add new A and B shares to its family of funds.
Though the conversion will not take place until March, and the regulatory paperwork has yet to be filed, a spokesperson for Invesco suggested that the load on class A shares would be similar to the 5.5 percent charge levied by other firms.
Invesco executives claim that the change in distribution strategy was made in response to the growing reliance of investors in financial advisors. Yet, the move leaves Invesco as a direct competitor to AIM Funds, its sister company under the Amvescap umbrella.
The decision also leaves Amvescap without a no-load brand in the event that the sales environment turns back to direct-sold funds in the future. Invesco had been wooing advisors prior to this decision and it even added Class C and Class K shares to funds in 2000.
Though firm executives say that the Invesco and AIM brands will be kept distinct, there may be compelling economics to unify the two brands as time passes.
There would be precedent for the eventual disappearance of the Invesco name. When Scudder purchased Kemper the two firms were initially kept as two distinct brands, one selling directly to investors and one through intermediaries. Scudder than added loads to its funds, dropping its direct sales efforts and ultimately the Kemper name was dropped from the funds.
Don't be surprised if the economics of the business compel a similar decision from Amvescap in the relatively near future.
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