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 head of sales and marketing and Ramy Shaalan as a market research analyst.

Foran comes most recently from Legg Mason, where he was 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 will now devote his attention to product development.

While Rydex has a history of marketing to RIAs and other fee-based and fee-only planners, the firm has boosted its effort to capture the eye of independent broker-dealers (see MFMN 10/1/2001). Foran, whose most recent work involved the development of Legg Mason's Web site, also brings with him experience working in that area, Viragh said .

"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," Viragh said, in a statement.

Shaalan comes from Thomson Wealth Solutions [formerly Wiesenberger, a subsidiary of Thomson Financial, publisher of this newsletter], 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, a Web site that collects information about RIAs businesses.

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

While deals exclusively with RIAs, 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 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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