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Rating:Sentinel Shoots for $2 Billion of Fund Sales Not Rated 4.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, February 27, 2009

Sentinel Shoots for $2 Billion of Fund Sales

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

On the heels of a record sales year in 2008, Sentinel Investments is targeting $2 billion in mutual fund sales this year, said Jim Cronin, president of Sentinel Financial Services Company, in a recent interview.

Jim Cronin
Sentinel Financial Services Company
Last year, mutual fund sales hit a record $1.3 billion at Montpelier, Vermont-based Sentinel. Cronin pointed to "great relative performance by our portfolio management group" as fueling the sales increase.

Sentinel, which is part of National Life Group, recently promoted Jamie Atkinson, formerly eastern division sales manager, to national sales manager and made some additions to its sales team (see The MFWire, 01/23/09).

It has 15 external wholesalers. The sales force saw a net increase of three over the past year, Cronin said.

Since Cronin, previously a sales executive at MFS Investment Management, arrived at Sentinel in December of 2006, the firm has expanded distribution efforts in the wirehouse, independent and regional broker-dealer channels.

In the past, distribution was "more internally focused," Cronin said.

Sentinel has since stepped up efforts to forge ties with third-party distributors. It now counts a total of nine focus firms, among them Merrill Lynch (now part of Bank of America) , Wachovia (now part of Wells Fargo) and UBS, which earlier this month was rumored to be in talks with Wachovia Securities about joint venture of their North American wealth management divisions. It also has ties with Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney, which unveiled their joint venture last month.

Sentinel also has relationships with regional b-ds Raymond James and RBC and independents Commonwealth Financial and LPL Financial.

Cronin, whose resume also includes stops at Alliance Capital, AIM Investments and LPL Financial Services, said that Equity Services Inc. (ESI) -- the broker-dealer and RIA affiliate of National Life Insurance Group -- generated $110 million of fund sales in 2007, or 17 percent of overall sales.

In 2008, ESI generated $140 million, representing less than 10 percent of overall sales.

Sentinel, which acquired Citizens Funds last year (see The MFWire, 04/15/08), currently has 14 funds in its lineup. 

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