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Rating:Nationwide's Spangler Follows Up 200% Sales Growth With a 1-2 Combo Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, July 10, 2014

Nationwide's Spangler Follows Up 200% Sales Growth With a 1-2 Combo

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

It's always important in every good match to follow up a hit with another killer combo.

That's what Nationwide is planning after the King-of-Prussia firm experienced a 200 percent increase in mutual fund sales over the past year since the first quarter of 2013, and saw a $10.1 billion increase in AUM, to $57.2 billion.

Part of this asset boom was driven by Nationwide's successful acquisition of 17 former HighMark Capital funds from Union Bank. Now, Nationwide Funds president Mike Spangler is prepping for the next combo.

The first part of this combination, involves the launch of three new funds. They are:

The Nationwide Herndon Mid Cap Value Fund (Class A: NWWMX):
A mid cap value strategy sub-advised by Herndon Capital Management, which will invest primarily in mid-sized firms that are considered to be undervalued and poised for outperformance. This is the first mutual fund to offer the strategy.

The Nationwide Diverse Managers Fund (Institutional Service Class: NWWFX):
A capital appreciation and income with a globally diversified portfolio of equity and fixed-income securities that has four sleeves managed by separate minority- and women-owned investment firms, including Garcia Hamilton & Associates, Herndon Capital Management, Strategic Global Advisors, and Ariel Investments. The fund will be available to Nationwide Financial’s retirement plan clients in mid-July.

The Nationwide Bailard Emerging Markets Fund (Class A: NWWAX):
A fund sub-advised by Bailard, Inc. which aims at long-term capital growth by investing in equity securities of companies located in or economically tied to emerging market countries. Nationwide’s relationship with Bailard began when it acquired 17 mutual funds from HighMark Capital Management, Inc. last year. The acquisition included three funds that were managed by Bailard, which have helped fuel recent sales growth.

The second part of the combo is aggressively searching for deals, including acquisitions and adoptions.

During a recent interview with MFWire, Spangler said on the subject of adoptions and acquisitions. "We are open and active in that arena."

"Our strategic focus is in the adoption and the product development and acquisition arenas," he said.

Spangler said the HighMark deal was important for, among other reasons, the confidence it generated in the market and amongst shareholders on Nationwide's ability to pull off such a deal without a hitch.

"With the Highmark acquisition, there was great opportunity for the shareholders in these funds. We acquired products. We distributed these products. We were able use our scale to deliver great service," he said.

A big focus for future acquisitions, of course, is for accelerating product development, according to Spangler. He said that a big driver of success for Nationwide Funds has been asset allocation products. More than $28 billion of fund assets involve some methodology or strategy related to asset allocation, he said.

Going forward, global allocation, income and products tightly focused on retirement outcomes will be key for Nationwide, he said.

"We are actively pursuing the retirement markets, both with our nationwide retirement plan parents and our funds," he said.

They also really like global categories such as emerging markets.

"I believe that recovery and growth in the emerging markets is going to happen. And when that happens, active management is really going to matter," he said.

Spangler said that he and his colleagues focused heavily in 2013 on building up Nationwide's sales infrastructure in anticipation of this push. The force now includes 21 field wholesalers and a DC I-O team.

The first step in this push, he said, includes "working with the due diligence community at the home offices of our focus firms, and also working with our key advisors in telling them the investor process, telling the investment story." 

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