Despite the drastic change of direction in the markets, fund companies do not appear to have appreciably shifted the nature of their advertising campaigns and several companies recently said they have no plans to do so.
One reason is that many firms have committed campaigns and do not adjust for temporary market changes, according to company executives.
INVESCO Funds of Denver re-evaluates its advertising on a periodic basis, according to Molly Cisneros, a spokesperson for INVESCO. Although the company is committed to advertising for the first half of the year, it is possible to alter content, according to Cisneros. The firm recently considered doing so, but decided not to change anything, she said.
Franklin Templeton Investments of San Mateo, Calif. did not even consider a change in advertising because of the declining market, according to Maureen Miller, a spokesperson for Franklin Templeton.
"We tend to have a longer term perspective," said Miller. "In general, we don't do any reactionary advertising."
Janus of Denver and OppenheimerFunds of New York also have no plans to alter their advertising. Both companies maintain that their advertising campaigns work, regardless of the condition of the markets.
MFS Investment Management of Boston is one company that has changed its advertising because of the declining market. An add appearing in magazines this month reads: "This time last year, the NASDAQ reached a record high. These days, it's breaking new kinds of records ... There's no question the markets are more volatile these days. That' s why..." The ad goes on to say that the volatility is causing investors to turn to trusted advisors and trusted companies, like MFS. That advertisement was developed late last year because of the declining market and was first published in January, according to John Reilly, senior vice president overseeing advertising at MFS. It was geared not towards individual consumers, however, but to financial advisors who are concerned about the recent market slide, according to Reilly.
"That ad has a dual purpose of promoting a value role for financial intermediaries ... and, in turn, creating a value role for MFS, showing how we're capable of managing through rough market times," Reilly said. Previous ads had been testimonials from satisfied shareholders about the company.
The declining market might have prompted more companies to shift their advertising if the volatility had led quickly to mass redemptions. According to data for February and early indicators of March activity, U.S. equity funds have not seen outflows, according to Avi Nachmany, director of research at Strategic Insight, a New York-based fund tracker.