The Vanguard Group, Inc. has doubled its sales force, to 220 staffers, serving financial advisors in an initiative to promote its exchange traded-fund products.

The initiative is being led by 27-year Vanguard veteran Martha King, head of the firm’s Financial Advisor Services division. Under her direction, the group has grown from $85.4 billion in assets under management in 2002 to more than $520 billion as of the end of December.  King was named a managing director at the company in January, reporting directly to Vanguard Chairman and CEO Bill McNabb.

A Vanguard spokesperson told Money Management Executive that the company is “augmenting its sales force to support the growing number of advisors who are investing their clients' assets in Vanguard's low-cost funds and ETFs.”

“Vanguard has experienced incredible success with its ETFs--our ETF assets have grown 63% annually since 2005, our ETF assets under management are nearly $200 billion and our ETF net cash flow was more than $36 billion in 2011,” said the spokesperson. “We believe we can better support this demand if we have more of a regional presence in the advisor community, enabling us to more efficiently communicate with advisors and get them the product and services they need.”

The spokesperson added that the expansion will be a “multi-year effort,” taking place in various regions nationwide over time.

Vanguard manages more than $1.65 trillion in U.S. mutual fund assets.

Tommy Fernandez writes for Money Management Executive.