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Rating:Mike West Invites More Managers to His Back Porch Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mike West Invites More Managers to His Back Porch

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

They have a special kind of hospitality in Knoxville, Tennessee and like any good host, Mike West chief executive of BPV Capital, wants a back porch full of guests.

"It is our desire to bring great asset managers to the marketplace. We would love to prove our distribution capabilities to these managers and tell them 'We love your strategy that focuses on this area, we would love the privilege of distributing this fund,'" West recently told MFWire.

West and his colleagues have been busy the past year preparing for plenty of new guests. In January, West was ready to spring forward after signing deals with three platforms, eager to find more sub-advisors and expand his sales staff. He made a key hire in June with the hiring of former Lord Abbett partner Frank Gregory to the role of distribution chief.

A key marketing strategy for West is to promote BPV, which stands for "Back Porch Vista," as a democratizer of the institutional set, bringing top notch managers to retail investors who otherwise wouldn't know of the shops or couldn't afford to meet their investing minimums.

One such example is the June launch of the BPV Large Cap Value Fund, sub-advised by the Philadelphia value shop, AJO. This will be the first retail fund helmed by the $24 billion firm. The fund will have a $1,000 minimum investment. For the majority of AJO's other accounts, the minimum is $25 million.

"I currently can't meet the $25 million minimum for this strategy in an institutional account. (I am working on someday making enough money to address that.) But I can now invest in this mutual fund. As funny as that sounds, this is the first time I'll be able to do this," joked AJO founder and managing principal Ted Aronson.

But getting serious, Aronson stressed the psychological importance of this product to investors: "The money we run for the Russells, the Transamericas. I am delighted to have them as clients, but these are accounts, not funds, that I can purchase. For the first time, retail investors can now access our strategy."

West said that several gatekeepers, who knew of AJO, already expressed interest in the product.

"We developed some relationships with regional independent broker dealers who have seen real value in this space," he said.

Meanwhile, West continues to refine his distribution message to the retail-weary. It's a message that seems to resonate with at least some firms already. "We are pretty good at investing, but we are not good at navigating the distribution world," Aronson said regarding the value of this relationship.

West wants his back porch full: "We hope there are more," he said. 

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