Motivated in part by the firm’s push into the independent broker/dealer market, Rydex has added two positions to its marketing staff; the firm has hired Lou Foran as EVP, sales and marketing and Ramy Shaalan as market research analyst.

Foran comes most recently from Legg Mason, where he was SVP, director of sales and marketing for the firm’s private client group. He now reports to Skip Viragh, president of Rydex, taking the reins of marketing management from Rob Steele, who held the title of EVP of marketing and product development and will now devote his attention to product development.

While Rydex has a history of marketing to Registered Investment Advisors and other fee-based and fee-only planners, the firm has boosted its effort to capture the eye of independent broker/dealers (see, Web Overhaul A Prelude to an Aggressive Marketing Plan, MFMN, 10/1/2001). Foran, whose most recent work also involved the development of Legg Mason’s Web site, also brings with him experience working with broker/dealers, said Viragh.

"He has a track record of client services wins and innovative product launches, and he’s going to help us work with our clients even more closely than we do now," said Viragh, in a statement.

Shaalan comes from Thomson Wealth Solutions (formerly Wiesenberger), where he held the position of senior mutual fund analyst. He now reports to Dawn Kahler, VP of marketing and communications, to whom he reported before she left Wiesenberger for Rydex a year ago.

Shaalan will be changing gears somewhat, focusing on the marketing and management of AdvisorBenchmarking.com, a Web site that collects information about RIA’s businesses.

"I’m going to be spearheading that effort, which includes managing the site and managing the relationships with the partners," said Shaalan.

Although Rydex’s name does not feature prominently on the site, Shaalan explained that it brings a lot of value to wholesalers’ relationships with advisors. "We want the wholesaler to go to the advisor and not worry about having to pitch them first but help them understand their own business and share this knowledge with them," he said.

While AdvisorBenchmarking.com deals exclusively with RIA’s, Shaalan said that Rydex anticipates the possibility for a similar service for independent broker/dealers.

"In terms of marketing right now, we’re sticking to the advisor arena rather than the registered rep arena. The difference is rather significant between the two," he said, adding, "As far as going forward, we want to gauge the effectiveness of this effort. There’s more to come than AdvisorBenchmarking.com in its present state, and I would not rule out the possibility of applying a similar concept to the broker/dealer channel."

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