American Funds, which has notoriously and historically been media-shy, is now trying to change that, at least with advisor-facing publications. And there’s good reason for the change. Long considered the darling of the mutual fund world, American Funds bled $81.5 billion in assets in 2011, and lost another $10 billion in assets during the first two months of this year, according to Morningstar. Now, the company is trying to win back the hearts of advisors, launching a new series of funds of funds, ramping up its advertising in trade publications that reach advisors, and rolling out a Facebook page and YouTube channel. The company will also start making its business professionals available to advisor-facing publications, such as Registered Rep., for the first time.
I sat down with the fund family’s spokesman Chuck Freadhoff to hear more about the new initiatives, which get underway next month. Freadhoff said nothing has changed on the investments side; it still has the same investment philosophy and multi-manager approach to running its funds. But a lot is changing on the business side.
For one, the fund company is going to start advertising in select trade publications, a big leap for a company that has never advertised. The company only sells through advisors, not direct to retail investors, so the advertising will be targeted at advisors. The company has also launched a Facebook page. The new YouTube channel, coming this summer, will feature the company’s executives talking about investment themes, such as dividend investing. But it won’t be product-oriented...
(Read more from Staff Writer, Diana Britton on her blog, Yield of Dreams.)