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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

McNamara Reveals USAA's Secret

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

Dan McNamara, president of USAA Investment Management Company [see profile], described his division as the "best-kept secret both internally and externally," and he and his colleagues are taking steps to change that.

Dan McNamara
USAA Investment Management Company
McNamara, a Bank of America alum who joined USAA a year ago, and Chris Claus, president of USAA Financial Advice and Solutions Group, are currently in New York City for a media tour.

In an interview with The MFWire.com Tuesday morning, McNamara discussed upcoming mutual funds, as well as recent hires, initiatives around retirement, and a national media campaign.

USAA, whose funds are available to the public and not restricted to its membership base, currently offers 46 mutual funds that had $45 billion of AUM as of end-August. As The MFWire.com reported last month, USAA now offers its funds through a no-transaction-fee supermarket through a distribution pact with E*Trade, and is currently in talks with other NTF platforms.

"It's in response to requests from our members," McNamara said.

Meanwhile, USAA is preparing to launch an online retirement center which will feature retirement tools and access to advice. USAA has teamed up with a third-party firm, whom McNamara declined to identify, in advance of the launch on October 25.

USAA has also recently hired Lincoln Financial alum Kevin O'Fee as assistant vice president of retirement strategy and this week brought on board Invesco alum Jeff Kissner as assistant vice president of managed money products. Kissner will also assist with third-party disribution of mutual funds.

And speaking of hires, USAA is upping its advisor count by 30 percent in 2011. It currrently has 1,200.

USAA is also preparing to embark on a national media campaign to build awareness of the organization through TV spots, print, online and radio advertisements. USAA is working with Detroit, Michigan-headquartered Campbell-Ewald, which also has an office in USAA's home base of San Antonio, according to USAA executive director Kristine Olson.

"We're operating from a position of strength," McNamara said. "We've weathered the storm well." 

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