Huntington Adding Funds
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Tuesday, November 21, 2000

Huntington Adding Funds

Huntington is changing its strategy with new funds and a new approach to the marketplace. Using an internal focus group of marketers, wholesalers, broker-dealers, and investment staff, Huntington chief investment officer Randy Bateman crafted a set of five funds the company is in the process of breaking out.

"We are trying to pizzaz up our quiver of arrows we are offering to the public," Batman told The new funds will have "offshore possibilities" and are all based on three objectives: profitability, market differentiation, and salability.

Bateman also has two hush-hush funds in the development stage. "We want to take a lot of the time to think those through and develop them in the first quarter of next year for entry in 2002," he confided, reluctant to give additional details. The new CIO, brought on board in late September, has made many changes helmed by chief executive Dan Benhase, himself hired in the spring. Huntington's restructuring has positioned the company to add efficiency to its operation as well as increase its $2.7 billion mutual fund market penetration.

All funds carry a five percent back-load and have a management fee in the area of seventy-five basis points. The Rotating Index Fund is based upon exchange traded indices and will be actively managed, adjusting to the investment climate.

The new funds are:
  • Rotating Index Fund
  • International Fund
  • New Economy Fund
  • Small Mid-Cap Fund
  • Dividend Capture Fund
"We haven't used our economist nearly enough, but in my regime I plan on doing so," added Bateman, explaining the guiding principles behind its new strategies for fund management.

While Huntington may use a sub-advisor for the International Fund, the company plans on using its own analysis to set the investing tone. The New Economy Fund will not be based on technology or biotech.

"The new economy is anything that adds efficiencies to labor," Bateman pointed out. While tech and biotech will not be excluded, the fund will also keep an eye to the energy and financial arenas. The Dividend Capture Fund, which is Bateman's own brainchild, will generate high yield by holding on stocks just long enough to reap dividends.

Huntington also has plans to adjust its Mortgage Securities Fund, whose growth has stalled and closely mirrors the Intermediate Government Fund. After a short-term shift in emphasis, the company looks to eventually convert it to a real estate fund. With 1,000 licensed brokers at its fingertips, Huntington has high hopes for its ability to reach the public.

"People would kill for that distribution network," Batemen said. "We've never given them any product to sell so we've really got a bird's nest on the ground." The company has further strengthened its broker relationships by facilitating direct interface with fund managers. By involving brokers in the fund-planning focus group, Huntington further emphasized the importance of its sales agents.

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