For the Grand Prix Fund, Monday was expected to be payday.
The one-year old aggressive growth fund that adheres to a momentum investment strategy was to drastically cut its sales charge on that day. The fund's usual sales charge, which can be as high as 5.25 percent, was to be cut to one percent. As a result, sales, which have been in the $10,000 to $12,000 per day range, were expected to be in the $3 million range on that day, said Robert Zuccaro, president of the fund and Target Investors, the fund's adviser in Wilton, Conn. That would increase the fund's total assets of $10 million by 30 percent.
The fund, which is sold through the Raymond James network of broker/dealers, was told investors wanting to transfer assets out of other load mutual funds were eager to buy shares of the Grand Prix Fund but did not want to pay sizeable commissions twice on the same assets, said Zuccaro.
Zuccaro wants to attract attention by distinguishing the fund from the hundreds of other growth funds. Besides by means of the one-day sales charge break, he wants the fund to attract notice as, the generous fund.' On purchases of more than $50,000, the fund returns the entire sales charge to selling dealers. On smaller investments, the fund pays selling dealers five percent of the 5.25 percent front-end load.
"If we do a good job, we'll get paid through the management fee," said Zuccaro. "We have to do things better and faster (to compete.)"
The Grand Prix Fund also exempts many shareholders from any sales charges, said Zuccaro. Shareholders who originally purchased the fund before December 1, 1998 have been grandfathered and pay no sales charge on additional invested assets. Others, such as pension or profit-sharing plan participants, 401(k) participants, IRA rollover account holders, wrap account clients, and employees of not only the adviser but the fund's marketing firm can also make minimum investments without any sales charge.
The non-diversified fund also hopes to compete with much larger funds by attracting customers with superior service. The fund's website (www.grandprixfund.com) breaks with tradition and lists the complete and latest month-end portfolio holdings. The site also has current earning estimates on each equity holding.
The fund is also available for direct purchase through the fund's transfer agent, Sunstone Financial in Milwaukee, Wisc. But Zuccaro said he is currently negotiating to offer the fund through the Nathan Lewis brokerage channel. The fund further hopes to be sold in the institutional marketplace of Charles Schwab's Mutual Fund OneSource which offers funds to 5,500 mostly fee-based financial planners.