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Waddell & Reed Retouches an Old Icon

Waddell & Reed Financial of Overland Park, Kan., which went public through an initial public offering in March of last year, last month introduced a new icon which preserves traces of its predecessor.

Having decided that its old Waddell & Reed icon was worn out, the company wanted a new look but also to preserve associations with its strong history of providing financial planning to middle-income clients.

The new icon is an adaptation of the icon used exclusively with its financial planning materials over the past 30 years. Gone is the horizontal Waddell & Reed name-centered logo in favor of a six-step pyramid inside a dark green marble circle.

"The (green) color suggests that we are in the money business," said Steve Hermes, vice president of advertising at Waddell & Reed. The icon is being used in conjunction with the firm's new tag line, "People with a plan for you."

The icon has three components, says Hermes. The circle represents the pie chart which has traditionally been used in the financial planning process to show how an individual client's income is being spent, said Hermes. The triangle represents the client's goals, with safety, income and growth each being represented by a corner of the triangle. Finally, the pyramid's steps represent the actions one must take to achieve goals.

Waddell & Reed had to re-register the old icon as a new trademark because it was going to be used for the entire company. The necessary approvals were obtained in October from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

The initial reaction to the new logo has been positive, said Hermes.

Some 3,000 to 4,000 people were affected by the change of logo, he said. The change meant altering everything from stationery and business cards to the firms' various co-op advertisements with individual Waddell & Reed advisers. Advertising is done through radio and television as well as on billboards in local markets. The icon will be introduced initially in certain advertising markets from now to April to tie in with the traditional IRA season.

Waddell & Reed Investment Management Co. serves as the adviser and distributor for three mutual fund families with a combined one million shareholders and $28 billion in assets. Its families include the United Group of mutual funds, the Waddell & Reed and the TMK/United Fund groups. Waddell & Reed also distributes variable annuities and life insurance products underwritten by its parent company, Torchmark, which still owns 89 percent of the firm.

In addition to introducing a new icon, Waddell & Reed hopes to increase its sales force, open large offices in Florida and Arizona to capitalize on retirement savings and planning needs and boost fund performance by hiring additional analysts and portfolio managers, according to the firm's IPO documents. The firm is also exploring strategic alliances and potential acquisitions to expand product offerings and distribution.