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TCW Enlisting Advisor Market to Broaden Sales

The TCW Group is now selling its products to retail investors by offering nine of its previously institutional-only mutual funds to investment advisors and individuals.

Beginning today, TCW will offer the TCW Galileo funds through Charles Schwab & Co.'s OneSource mutual fund supermarket. David Prichard, a senior vice president at TCW, said the firm primarily will market the funds to financial planners and brokers at wirehouses. TCW, based in Los Angeles with more than $50 billion in assets under management, will conduct a marketing campaign and may upgrade its website as part of the new distribution effort, Prichard said.

TCW will sell an institutional version of the funds with a $250,000 minimum investment, through Schwab. The firm also will offer a no-load class of the funds with a $2,000 minimum and a Rule 12b-1 charge of .25 percent. While TCW expects it may attract some sales directly from investors, the company's intent is to go through intermediaries, Prichard said.

TCW's brand name is known primarily among institutional investors such as pension plans, charitable foundations and endowments. In the past year, however, the firm has begun to expand its separate account business through wrap account programs at wirehouses such as Salomon Smith Barney, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.

TCW has approximately $800 million in assets under management though the wrap programs. TCW hopes to expand on its existing relationships with wirehouses and attract planners, Prichard said. The firm's goal is to raise $300 million in assets this year through its new fund distribution efforts, Prichard said.

TCW is making the sales effort now to broaden its distribution and diversify its sources of revenue, Prichard said.