Wells Fargo Plans to Scrap Strong Funds Brand Name
January 31, 2005
The Strong Funds moniker will soon be added to the scrap heap of discarded financial service firm brands next quarter after Wells Fargo fully incorporates the assets it acquired last year from Strong Financial Corp. Wells Fargo officials are now working to integrate the Strong Funds into a proprietary family that will soon be known as Wells Fargo Advantage funds. The combined family will boast roughly 120 funds and $100 billion of assets.
Marketing experts said the Strong name was forever impaired last year after the firm agreed to pay $80 million in fines and lower fees by $35 million over the next five years to settle charges of improper trading. The firm's founder, Richard Strong, was fined $60 million and barred from the industry for life.
After its brush with regulators, Strong was ripe for the picking. Wells Fargo acquired the firm's $24 billion of mutual fund assets and $5 billion of institutional assets on Dec. 31.