Investment Company Institute Vice President of Operations and Continuing Education Donald J. Boteler; Franklin Templeton Investments Senior Vice President, Global Client Marketing David M. McSpadden; and Putnam Investments have each won first place in Money Management Executive's 2010 Fund Operations Awards for, respectively: Visionary Leadership, Innovation and Back Office Efficiencies/Streamlining.

This year's program, now in its eighth year, is co-sponsored by The National Investment Company Service Association, which at its Thursday General Membership Meeting at the Harvard Club in Boston, will host an awards presentation for all nine winners.

Serving as this year's judges are: T. Neil Bathon, founder, FUSE Research Network; Geoffrey H. Bobroff, president, Bobroff Consulting, Inc., and independent chairman of the Matthews Asia Funds; George Gorman, board director, NICSA; Charlie O'Neill, president, Diversified Management Resources; and Kathleen Whalen, managing director, Dalbar, Inc.

About the winners:

Donald J. Boteler, vice president of operations and continuing education at the Investment Company Institute, has spent the past 25 years working on critical operational issues facing the U.S. mutual fund industry:accounting and pricing, custody, clearance and settlement, transfer agency and shareholder servicing. Prior to joining the ICI in 1986, Boteler, a CPA and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, served on the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Division of Investment Management for five years.

The overwhelming number of executives who nominated Boteler characterize him as a "global thinker" able to see the "big picture," and who has served the industry with "passionate commitment, impeccable ethics and the ability to build consensus." Market timing, breakpoints, cost-basis reporting, shareholder privacy and automated profiles-have all come under his purview.

In his nomination for Boteler, Fidelity Investments Senior Director of Operations Brian O'Loughlin wrote: "Don's industry knowledge is matched by his ability to interact with people of all levels, including politicians, systems providers and management at funds and firms."

And, as Douglas L. Anderson, senior vice president, operations, at Delaware Investments, phrased it: "Don Boteler has been, and will continue to be, an instrumental part of the change process in the mutual fund industry."

Under the leadership of President and Chief Executive Officer Keith F. Hartstein, John Hancock Funds has emerged as an industry leader in fund adoptions, which are not an easy feat. They require a shareholder proxy, the filing of a shell fund by the acquiring company and subsequent merger of funds. Through the fund adoption process, John Hancock went from offering seven four- and five-star rated funds in 2004 to a portfolio of 17 funds rated in the top two categories today.

The firm's transfer agency said its nomination of Hartstein was "in recognition of all the hard work Keith F. Hartstein has done within his role as president and CEO of John Hancock Funds in adding product breadth and quality to the family of funds that we service for our clients."

NorthStar Financial Services Group, a strategic partner/consultant to Gemini Fund Services, nominated Chief Executive Officer Michael Miola to the Leadership category in recognition of his work as "an innovator in the mutual fund services since the early 1980s. Miola was an industry first to develop non-mainframe accounting and transfer agency systems. Miola's latest vision is transforming our distributor into a sales process facilitator assisting advisers in raising assets."

NorthStar also noted Miola "has developed shared trust solutions for mutual funds, variable annuities and offshore funds. The Northern Lights Fund Trust, Gemini's series trust, launched 20 mutual funds in 2009 and by doing so, doubled the size of the trust."

Franklin Templeton Investments nominated Senior Vice President, Global Client Marketing David McSpadden for the Innovation in Customer Service category to recognize "his captivating vision and innovative approach to engaging our customers.

"With responsibility for global client marketing-from campaigns to e-mail to the web-McSpadden has designed innovative, customer-focused communications and media to proactively, responsibly and thoughtfully engage our customers and shareholders around the world."

Of particular note is the U.S. website McSpadden relaunched last year, now reaching more than 85,000 advisers. The global blog with Twitter feed he conceived of features emerging markets expert Dr. Joseph Mark Mobius, is posted on 10 different country sites and generates more than 40,000 views a day.

Franklin Templeton's wholesaler e-mail program increased the firm's delivery by 38%, opens by 36% and click-throughs by 98%.

Most importantly, these marketing efforts combined have demonstrated incremental sales growth of $15 billion-plus among loyal users.

DST Systems' SalesConnect team leverages its Universal Dealer database to reconcile trades and deliver updated firm, office and representative information to both the transfer agent and distributor organizations within a fund company. Integrated with DST's TA2000 recordkeeping platform, the offering eliminates redundant efforts and data discrepancies, enabling the internal TA to better support operational needs of broker/dealers, and sales managers to better service distribution partners.

Each time a representative does business with one client, that information is reconciled and accessible to all. Over 90% of transactions are systematically resolved, and 90% of remaining trades are resolved by T+1 by a dedicated team with strong B/D relationships.

In 2009, MetLife Broker-Dealer Group and PNC introduced Fund Management Services (FMS), partnered on a revolutionary online platform that enables financial advisers to provide advisory services to investors who make a minimum investment of $10,000. By using a simplified investment product design, straight-through processing, proprietary algorithms and scalable technology, MetLife and PNC succeeded in "democratizing" financial advice and bringing a financial service once only available to high-net-worth individuals to a new market.

Since its launch, new customer acquisition has grown 300%.

In 2009, Putnam Investments converted its internal shareholder recordkeeping system to an outsourced system and exceeded all service performance goals, including: meeting and exceeding 17 internal service standards, winning Dalbar Awards in five programs and achieving a National Quality Review five-star quality rating.

Restructuring also entailed pooling agents via intelligent call routing, partnering with a vendor to consolidate facilities and reduce costs, and successfully using part-time college interns.

The end result was a 25% reduction in staffing and savings of $20 million.

John Hancock Signature Services has created a new web-based application that automates the monthly and quarterly dividend process and allows historical data queries to assist with monthly fund audits. It ensures accuracy of critical financial data while delivering enhanced process controls.

The TA system has reduced daily and monthly dividend processing by 90%, or 237 effort hours per quarter. This new technology has also significantly reduced the duration of the fund audit process from three weeks to a mere two days.

DST Systems has upgraded its transaction processing interface. In pilot-testing DST's SmartForms tool for 529 new account setup, Boston Financial Data Services reduced data-entry time and improved quality control. SmartForms pulls images from a scanned paper application. As a processor moves his/her cursor over a data entry field, the information to be entered is automatically displayed in a bubble above the field.

Up-down eye movement is more efficient than left-right. With SmartForms, transactions that typically take 10-12 minutes for processing and quality review now take three or four minutes-a 70% improvement.

(c) Copyright 2010 Money Management Executive and SourceMedia Inc. All rights reserved.

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