Fund companies have learned that retaining assets can be even more important than attracting new assets. Predicting which customers' behavior patterns signal they are about to jump ship can often help savvy fund sponsors intercede and possibly avert redemptions. That's one area where customer relationship management technology (CRM) is useful.

CRM technologies allow companies to drill down and collate information about each individual customer from across various departmental databases, the first and most difficult aspect of CRM. To help fund companies predict which fund investors are "at risk" for flying the coop, CRM is applied here not only by culling the usual name, addresses, and social security number, but also the customer's investment-style preference, most recent trades and other historical data. Once the data is merged, a unique profile of that customer can be derived, said Ellen Joyner, global industry strategist, financial services, with CRM provider SAS of Cary, N.C.

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