The tradition of separating internal marketing support desks and external rainmaker sales groups has come to an end at a handful of influential mutual fund companies, and some experts say they are on the cusp of revolutionizing investment sales to third-party intermediaries, like financial advisers and brokerage firms.

According to a forthcoming study by the New York-based consulting firm kasina, OppenheimerFunds, Alliance Capital Management and Nuveen Investments boosted asset inflows up to 30% after replacing conventional two-tiered sales groups of internal and external wholesalers with regional systems that incorporate tertiary "virtual marketers" who work with a more dynamic inside staff.

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