When financial advisers think of Eagle Asset Management, the firm wants them to think of independent, steadfast and effective investments.
But they also want the advisers to associate Eagle with "perfonomy," "convigrity" and "experiocus."
These are synonyms for key characteristics it uses to find effective investments that Eagle is featuring in its first-ever advertising and branding campaign, "Keeping Our Word."
These synthetic words will appear in online and print promotions sites aimed at financial advisers. Eagle declined to disclose the budget for the campaign, which kicked off in January.
Phase one of the campaign running throughout 2011 includes print and web ads in Registered Rep and Research magazines, published by Penton Media and Market Research Society, respectively.
At year-end, Eagle, which manages $19.18 billion in its funds, will reassess the campaign and possibly expand it out to other publications.
The campaign, developed in-house, uses the three made-up words meant to signify what is "core to what Eagle is and how Eagle flies," said Cooper Abbott, executive vice president of investments and co-chief operating officer of the St. Petersburg, Fla., fund firm.
Each of the three words are made up of syllables from two other words. The concepts behind them are described at a micro website built to support the campaign, at http://www.eagleasset.com/keepingourword.
* "Perfonomy" (performance and autonomy). This signifies Eagle's independent investing approach. The tagline here is: "Doing what we say. Working harder to make it happen."
Eagle defines "perfonomy" as "the addition of alpha through our independent investment team approach" and tells investors:
"We don't accept mediocrity at Eagle. Our strong drive and conservative nature push us to work harder to add alpha. Ultimately, we believe it's the ability to deliver superior risk-adjusted returns that differentiates us from our peers."
* "Convigrity" (conviction and integrity). This refers to Eagle's emphasis on fundamental research and targeted investment styles.
Eagle defines "convigrity" as "our blend of strong conviction in fundamental research with the integrity of our investment style-specific portfolio managers."
Eagle expands on this point by saying, "You might call us the strong, silent type. Our commitment to adding value through a long-term investment approach may not make any headlines, but it works for us and, more importantly, for our clients. At Eagle, we make every effort to avoid momentum-driven securities, risky bets, trendy market favorites and unreasonable risk/return tradeoffs. We believe in keeping our word and think doing what's right is more important than following trends or our peers.
"Integrity, in its purest form, is essential to developing and maintaining long-term relationships. Our clients deserve nothing less.
"We manage our portfolios within the framework of sound investment philosophies. Our investment managers are true active managers and have the conviction in their process to stand by it, even during periods of short-term underperformance."
* "Experiocus" (experience and focus). This is aimed at calling attention to Eagle's 35-year history and its single-minded emphasis on investment management over distribution.
Eagle defines "experiocus" as "the result of three decades' experience meeting and asset-management focus." Eagle expands on this notion by telling investors, "When it comes to asset management, we have tunnel vision with a focus on one thing: client portfolios," the company says in ads supporting the campaign. "Since 1976, Eagle has been committed to employing investment managers who we believe possess the rare talent and insight required to construct portfolios that limit downside risk and add alpha over time. Our portfolio managers blend the valuable knowledge gained from past successes with a passion for doing what they say."
Eagle points out at its microsite that its managing directors have an average of 25 years of investment management experience and an average firm tenure of more than a decade.
Eagle tells investors at its microsite that it only employs portfolio managers that it believes "possess the rare talent and insight required to construct portfolios that add risk-adjusted alpha over the long term."
Each strategy is supported by independent investment teams that conduct intensive research, Eagle says.
Eagle said it was launching the campaign at a time when investment intermediaries are looking for new options since investors are reevaluating their portfolios.
"The ads reinforce the relevance of Eagle's capabilities and long-held core values in a fresh way," Abbott said. "Credibility and transparency should be at the top of the due diligence list for financial advisers, consultants and institutions. Our investment teams focus on securing top-tier results in their respective styles, rather than attempting to chase trends or peers. We have earned a solid reputation behind the numbers by doing what we say we will do."
In the 10 years through year-end 2010, Eagle's assets grew an average of 8.69% a year. Morningstar rates 68% of its funds with four- or five-stars. Two of its best-performing funds are the Eagle Mid Cap Growth Fund, which delivered 7.92% in the 10 years ended Dec. 31, 2010 (handily beating its benchmark Russell Midcap Growth Index's 3.12% return) and the Eagle Small Cap Growth Fund, which delivered 8.18% in the decade (beating its benchmark Russell 2000 Growth Index's 3.78% return).
Richard Rossi, president and co-COO of the 160-person firm, said that the campaign should remind intermediaries that Eagle has been quietly delivering on its word for decades.
"As a firm, we continue to embrace fundamental, bottom-up investing," Rossi said. "It is how we use this information, our own vetting processes for identifying risk/reward potential in holdings candidates, which sets Eagle and its investment teams apart. And, ultimately, our credibility is rooted in doing what we say and focusing on what we believe is right for our clients. Our history bears this out."