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Thursday, June 27, 2002

Armada on Course

by: Tony Pennino

Armada Funds is making headway in its efforts to expand its business to more regions and channels. The firm first highlighted its plans at the start of this year. The primary push, explained Kathy Barr, senior vice president and director of marketing at the firm, is an expansion into the third party advisor channel.

In January, the firm began to build its operations in this channel. Since the New Year, Armada has hired three wholesalers for this market. They are located in California, Texas, and Florida. "We will probably add a fourth late in the third quarter," Barr reported. "That wholesaler will be stationed somewhere along the East Coast."

"We wanted to grow the fund complex. Banks have terrific referral resources, but it is important to explore all the avenues. While it takes time and money, it is definitely worth it. We are starting to see some success. Trades are starting to come in. And not just on the mutual fund side. We have a small 401(k) product and a wrap product that are doing business. There is interest out there," she contended.

The firm is also expanding its institutional channel. It currently has three wholesalers responsible for that channel. And National City, Armada's parent, is initiating a platform program. That program requires Registered Series Six reps; the firm is looking to add two more reps in that area. The platform program offers both mutual funds and fixed annuities.

Armada will also shortly be launching a small mid value fund. "We are hitting maximum capacity on the small value fund. We like the range, and we wanted to offer something other than just straight mid value," Barr explained as to why this fund was being offered. It will focus on companies with a capitalization between $250 million and $5 billion.

And, finally, Bill Batcheller, senior vice president and portfolio manager of Armada tech equity fund, appeared on CNBC today at 10:45 am. Batcheller will make use of Armada'a in-house studio.  

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