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Thursday, May 15, 2003

FRC Reorganizes Practice Areas

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Bisys' Financial Research Corporation unit is reorganizing its practice areas. With the changes, FRC will go from being organized around three divisions -- subscriptions, studies and consulting -- into eight primary practice areas, confirmed Neil Bathon, president.

As part of the reorganization, the consulting firm is currently in the midst of a search for three additional research analysts and a senior relationship manager to lead a new centralized client service function.

Bathon explained that the changes are intended to maximize the impact and benefit FRC delivers to its clients. "We got into silos where we did not have interaction that I liked," he added. "The new structure encourages the entrepreneurial environment that I want to encourage." He also noted the industry has evolved to the point where most players are no longer product focused and have business needs across the spectrum of the industry.

"Our clients are actively expanding their businesses into a variety of areas, such as separate accounts and 529 plans, which were not even on their radar screens five years ago. The competitive pressure to develop and implement profitable product and distribution strategies has increased, while support resources have become scarce," noted Bathon.

Each of the eight practice areas will be under the direction of a "subject matter expert," or SME, and have its own P&L, said Bathon. Each SME is responsible for insuring that FRC clients are kept informed of the latest trends and competitive developments in the areas of product, distribution, marketing, and sales. Each SME will also be supported by a team of analysts and consultants.

The eight SMEs and their business units are: Bob Kennedy (Mutual Fund), Lisa Plotnick (Variable Annuity), Chris Brown (Retirement), Mike Evans (Separately Managed Accounts), Whitney Dow (College Savings), Hohn Benvenuto (Sub-Advisory), Dave Haywood (Technology) and Cathy Crowley (Alternative Products).

Bathon is also exploring the addition of a ninth group that would cover offshore funds. "We are in the midst of talking to a group to get the data needed for that unit," he said. Most likely, FRC will partner with Magnus Spence, Sector Analysis in London. 

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