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Lindner Funds Rebuild

Lindner Asset Management has undergone a nearly complete turnover in both management and strategy over the last year and is looking to reposition itself with a revamped product line, a fresh investment story, and new executive team in place.

The Deerfield, Ill.-based firm's makeover actually began in 1998, said Robert Miller, now CAO. "We knew that there needed to be some changes. Our most critical exploration was the portfolio management."

Lindner hired Boston-based Financial Research Corp. to provide "high level strategic analysis" of the firm's fund portfolio management and overall direction. Responsibility for carrying out the resulting recommendations rests with Miller, Al Pisterzi, who became COO in October of last year, and Christopher Schwartz, who took over the reins as CIO in November. Doug Valassis remains chairman and CEO of the firm.

Pisterzi will be handling marketing efforts for Lindner. With experience as a consultant in the institutional market and a background marketing funds to high-net-worth clients, he intends to exploit both those avenues.

"Our first and foremost goal is to grow the funds, and the ria channel is a top priority for us," he said. Lindner will also focus on the institutional market and ultimately looks to grow a retail separate accounts business.

Anxious to build the Lindner brand, Pisterzi accepts a measured pace in the growth of the business. "What we're trying to do is crawl before we walk and reestablish the Lindner name," he said, adding that clients such as advisors in the RIA community will be carefully eyeballing Lindner sub-advised investment strategy and ongoing performance.

Miller described Lindner's years of misfortune as a "roller-coaster ride," but Pisterzi seemed undaunted by the past. After careful rhetoric describing investment strategies, quality controls, and marketing plans, he said, "I'm hungry for the thrill of this particular challenge."