Taking a cue from one of its competitors, Morgan Stanley is examining whether it should change the brand name of its mutual funds to help boost sales, Dow Jones reported.
Although the New York investment banker's asset management group, which boasts $431 billion in assets under management and sells its funds under the scandal-tarnished Van Kampen moniker, is its best-performing business unit, newly minted CEO John Mack said it's been underperforming and might need a change.
Mack has already changed leadership at the asset manager and also hinted that high-risk, high-return products for wealthy investors, such as hedge funds, might be on the horizon. Another closed-end fund, like the $800 million initiative it undertook with BlackRock Group in November, could also be in the pipeline.
But the first move would likely be a name change for its funds. A chief competitor of Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, said last month that it would begin using outside brokers and insurers to sell its funds in the U.S. under a non-Merrill name.
"We will clearly look at what our competitors have done," said Morgan Stanley CFO David Sidwell.
Morgan Stanley operates its own retail sales force, which numbers about 9,000 brokers.