Kevin Rowell is no stranger to advisors. A longtime executive at some of the nation's largest broker-sold fund shops, he was recruited away from Charles Schwab in January to boost slumping sales at Pioneer Investments.
Registered Rep.: Having come from Schwab, a distribution powerhouse, what do you bring to the table as head of Pioneer's distribution operation?
Kevin Rowell: An extensive knowledge of the advisor community and over 22 years focused on distribution and selling to advisors. My time at Schwab, and my experience as head of sales at both Alliance and Putnam, have given me a deep understanding of what the marketplace needs. And having been president of Safeco Mutual Funds, I have a firm grasp of the regulatory environment.
RR: Pioneer has been struggling with outflows for the past two-and-a-half years. What's the latest?
KR: Sales have been strong and steadily improving. We're net negative for the year, but for two of the last three months we've had positive net sales, so that's a good turnaround. We have some funds that are showing really strong performance.
RR: What are you doing specifically to reverse Pioneer's fortune and win over advisors?
KR: We're training our sales force to be more consultative to meet advisors' needs. We're rolling out a pilot program this year with four practice-management seminars nationwide.
RR: Any other initiatives in the works?
KR: We're actively hiring right now with an eye towards that CFA-type research analyst. With professional buyers in place at all the major brokerages, we're spending a lot of time with the new hires — people with much more of a CFA orientation — that'll be calling on these analysts.
RR: How has the integration of the AmSouth and Safeco funds gone? What's next on the M&A front?
KR: It's gone very smoothly. It's shown the marketplace that we know how to make those kinds of acquisitions and can integrate. We're [still] looking at [expanding] the overall organization both domestically and overseas.