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Tops in Name Recognition

Vanguard provides a good example of how one fund company has developed a successful brand, Srere said. When John Bogle founded Vanguard, he did so out of a passion to do one thing: provide investors with a cheaper, more efficient way of investing. Bogle's conviction and passion for creating a low-cost investment option has driven Vanguard's brand identity as the industry's low-cost leader, Srere said.

In fact, in a recent poll conducted by Miami-based brand consultant, Brand Institute, only two fund companies made a top 20 list of the most recognized brands in financial services. Those firms were Fidelity, which placed seventh and Vanguard, which placed 20th.

The poll asked 3,000 respondents to list brand names that first came to mind in a variety of categories, including financial services. While many of the firms mentioned offer mutual funds, their brand names are based on their services in brokerage or banking, not mutual funds.