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Rating:Vanguard to Grow Distribution Via RIAs Not Rated 4.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, May 12, 2003

Vanguard to Grow Distribution Via RIAs

by: Ki Kim

On the heels of its exit out of the custody arena, The Vanguard Group appears to be redeploying some of its resources to support distribution of its mutual funds through non-commissioned advisors, or RIAs.

The indexed fund giant is building a staff to support an expanded distribution effort through intermediaries, including the growing fee-only channel. Rebecca Cohen, a spokesperson for Vanguard, confirmed that more professionals likely will be added to help support intermediary sales channels, including some from within the firm.

Also, the firm is gearing up to debut a new website targeting advisors next month to further bolster such efforts. The new site will feature fund information, market analysis and investment philosophy pieces, according to the spokesperson.

Cohen also confirmed that Bruce Barton, formally of Delaware Distributors, was hired last year as a manager in Vanguard's institutional investment-only group.

Fee-only advisors are one of the few growing distribution channels for mutual fund firms, but the channel still represent just 16 percent of the market verses the 84 percent allotted to commissioned advisors, according to Chip Roame, managing principal at Tiburon.

Meanwhile, Vanguard stands strong among RIAs, who tack on an advisory fee, generally around 100 basis points of assets, to fees charged by the mutual funds. In utilization among the largest fee-only advisors, those with $500 million or more in assets, Vanguard is number one, according to Roame. Among all fee-only advisors, the fund giant ranks only behind Fidelity

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