MFS Investments Chief Executive Officer said he doesn’t expect assets to grow as much as the 20% they climbed in the past 12 months, due to “more normal” market conditions of about 8% a year, Reuters reports. As the firm’s assets hit the $200 billion market in April, the company celebrated by giving each of its employees either $200 or a windbreaker inscribed with the figure.
“The $200 billion did come faster, but it was because of a big market rally that we had,” said MFS CEO and Chief Investment Officer Robert Manning. “We just don’t expect that going forward.” In fact, the company hopes to reach $250 billion or $300 billion in the next three years.
To reach that level, Manning’s main goal is to return to positive net flows in MFS’ retail mutual funds, which have been losing money since 2000 due to the bear market and then the trading scandal; in the first quarter of this year, the funds lost $600 million.
To counter the outflows, MFS is about to launch a multi-million dollar branding campaign and is currently hiring additional wholesalers and internal salespeople. In the past year, MFS has hired 12 wholesalers and could possibly hire 12 more, Manning said.
“It’s really not a redemption problem. It’s really a sales issue, which is why we are spending money on advertising and trying to get our gross sales up,” Manning said.
Meanwhile, MFS is expanding its global institutional and retail footprint, currently opening up an investment office in Sydney, Australia and considering opening up and investment and distribution office in Geneva, Switzerland.
“We are clearly pushing outside the U.S., both retail and institutionally,” Manning added. “That’s the area where we’ve been in substantially positive flows and where we think we have the best opportunities for growth in the future.”