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Scudder Reorganizes Direct Fund Routes

Scudder Kemper Investments has reshuffled its management structure as part of an effort to improve its position in the direct sales mutual fund business.

Scudder Kemper has consolidated its two previously autonomous direct-sales fund businesses -- Scudder Direct and the AARP Investment Program, the Scudder funds marketed to members of the American Association of Retired Persons. The firm named Lin Coughlin, 46, to lead the combined group.

Coughlin formerly ran the AARP funds. William Baughman, who ran the Scudder Direct program, left the company last month to pursue other interests, said Steven Shapiro, a company spokesperson last week.

Coughlin will report to Mark Casady, 37, who was named head of Scudder Kemper's global mutual fund business. Scudder Kemper has approximately $110 billion in assets under management. Casady previously oversaw the U.S. mutual funds unit, which includes the Scudder and AARP funds and the company's Kemper Funds unit.

Scudder's direct business has lost market share in recent years. Scudder had a 3.96 percent share of the direct market in 1991 and the percentage has dropped every year since then, according to Financial Research Corp., a Boston fund tracking firm. Scudder's share of the direct mutual fund market was at 1.82 percent as of Dec. 31, down from 2.01 percent in 1997, according to Financial Research.

Assets of the combined Scudder direct unit were nearly $40 billion as of Dec. 31, up from approximately $35 billion in 1997, Shapiro said.

Scudder executives will review manpower, products and advertising as part of the realignment but there are no definite plans about what changes will be made, Shapiro said.

For direct funds "it has become a cluttered environment to try to communicate," Shapiro said. "The key is to be able to scream above it and that's what we need to figure out how to do."

Mutual funds which are sold directly to investors, as opposed to those funds sold through a broker, represent roughly 30 percent of the mutual fund market, according to mutual fund executives. Direct fund companies have built their businesses in recent years by selling through mutual fund supermarkets, financial advisers and retirement plans.

Scudder, whose direct fund business began in 1928, is committed to remaining in the direct sales channel, Shapiro said. The changes in Scudder's direct business will not result in a restructuring for the Kemper Funds unit, Shapiro said. Kemper's business will remain autonomous from the direct sales unit, he said.

On the Kemper side, Scudder Kemper has named Michael Curran as chief operating officer of that unit. He reports to Thomas Littauer, Kemper Funds' president. Littauer reports to Casady.