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Rating:Whitebox Builds a Distribution Team Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Whitebox Builds a Distribution Team

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

Aspiring fundsters, take note: If you want to distribute your mutual funds, consider hiring a distribution team.

(Don't laugh. There are still loads of fundsters out there who don't even know how to spell D-I-S-T-R-I-B-U-T-I-O-N We've met them.)

A clear example of a burgeoning fund firm, with executives who know what they are doing, is Whitebox Advisors.

The Minneapolis-based investment shop entered '40 Act Country roughly three years ago, and now offers two products: the Tactical Opportunities Fund and the Whitebox Long Short Equity Fund.

Building up Whitebox's distribution team roughly from scratch was one of the firm's major goals in 2013, according to Mike Coffey, who was himself hired in April 2013 to serve as the firm's head of distribution.

Starting with Whitebox Mutual Funds president Bruce Nordin, who had been with the firm for several years, and Stacy Havener, hired in 2012 to spearhead the sales and marketing effort of Whitebox Mutual Funds in the Registered Investment Advisor channel, the firm hired three other sales execs in addition to Coffey in 2013: Michael Porcelli; Brian Williams, and Matthew Opitz.

"Adding distribution was key for us in 2013. You can't raise funds for a product without anyone telling its story and taking your views to clients," Coffey told MFWire.

Coffey said that his firm is open to possible new sales hires in the coming year, but that "we are not trying to be a large distribution firm where we have hundreds of wholesalers out there. We are trying to do this in a more focused kind of effort, where we bring in some people with experience in the industry who can be effective in telling the Whitebox story."

What kind of impact has this burgeoning distribution team had on Whitebox's assets? Consider these figures: The tactical fund started out 2013 with around $29 million in assets, now it has around $425 million. The long short fund started the year with $20 million and now has around $57 million. With total AUM jumping from around $49 million to $482 million, that's almost a tenfold increase.

Can you spell D-I-S-T-R-I-B-U-T-I-O-N?

No, seriously. 

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