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Rating:Deeper Pockets Allow PowerShares to Slip Its Ad Bonds Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Deeper Pockets Allow PowerShares to Slip Its Ad Bonds

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

Earlier this year, PowerShares Capital Management did something it had never done before: pitch its wares on TV. The ad campaign came months after the completion of the Wheaton, Illinois-based company's acquisition by Amvescap (now known as Invesco), a deal which gave PowerShares broader distribution and access to deeper pockets.

Bruce Bond
PowerShares Capital Management
Founder, President and CEO
The James Bond-esque ad, which ran on CNBC, urged viewers to "escape the average," and touted PowerShares' intelligent indexing approach. Chicago-based Euro RSCG created the TV spot.

In an interview, Bruce Bond, founder, president and chief executive of PowerShares, said the company spent "a few million dollars" on the ad campaign.

Bond, who was a sales and marketing executive at Nuveen Investments before he founded PowerShares in August 2002, insisted that the look of the ad was not meant to evoke the common denominator between him and the fictional agent bearing the same last name.

"That was not the idea," Bond said. "The whole idea is escaping the average. People don't get excited about being average."

The ad's intent, he said, was to show that "PowerShares is different from other ETF providers," adding that he has encountered "great reactions" to the ad.

But there are also those of the opinion that PowerShares should have taken aim instead at active managers instead of fellow ETF players.

Asked about this, Bond said: "We believe these [active managers] are competitors, but one thing PowerShares needs to do first is to communicate how we are different from other ETF players. Our goal is to have people understand the value we bring to the table. The next step is how does our method compare to active management?"

Speaking of competition, what does Bond think of the sale of one of PowerShares' fellow ETF issuers, Rydex Investments, to Security Benefit?

"We don't expect the deal to have a major impact on PowerShares," Bond said.

"There were rumors that Invesco was involved, but they weren't, at least that's my understanding," he said, referring to reports naming Invesco as one of the bidders for Rockville, Maryland-based Rydex.

Meanwhile, PowerShares is conducting an education program in major cities to heighten advisors' awareness on the firm's offerings, Bond said. The program kicked off in April.

According to data from Bloomberg and Morgan Stanley Research, PowerShares is the fourth largest ETF player in terms of market share, behind Vanguard, State Street, and market leader Barclays.

PowerShares had more than $10 billion of assets under management as of April.  

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