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Mutual Funds Worry Over Negative Perception

Financial services firms, including mutual fund managers, admitted that they invited negative public perception by their actions, or inactions, according to the 2012 Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Study.

Negative public opinion topped the list of challenges financial firms need to overcome this year, according to the study.

The study also revealed that nearly three in four respondents, or 74%, believe that increased regulation of the financial services industry will help their firms improve their reputations and trust with customers faster. Moreover, 81% of the marketing executives are worried about negative public reaction to executive compensation in the industry.

iShares Preps a Frontier Market ETF

iShares has filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch a frontier market exchange-traded fund.

The iShares MSCI Frontier 100 Index Fund will have regional exposure to countries such as Croatia, Kuwait, and Vietnam with sector exposure to energy, financial and telecommunication services companies. The ETF will also bet on futures, options and swap contracts.

The fund's portfolio managers include Christopher Bliss, Rene Casis, Diane Hsiung and Greg Savage. State Street Bank and Trust Company is the administrator, custodian and transfer agent for the fund.

John Hancock Says 'You Are Not Alone'

John Hancock Financial Services has launched a television campaign, titled "You Are Not Alone," that Hancock's chief marketing officer, David Longfritz, says taps into the frustrations, as well as the resilience, of American investors now.

The ads feature tidbits of frank conversations between investors and couples regarding their concerns over the economy and financial markets, and their struggles to get over this malaise.

"They know that they've got to start planning for retirement again. They have to start making decisions" Longfritz told Money Management Executive. "There is still actually a lot of paralysis out there. Investors know it."

Longfritz said that that the messages of the ad campaign came up during lengthy focus group sessions Hancock had with investors across the country.

The campaign is the first under Longfritz, who has been Hancock's CMO for roughly a year. It was developed by Hancock's ad agency, Boston-based Hill Holliday.

The ads will run during sports programming like CBS and NBC golf coverage, the U.S. Open in June as well as NBC's coverage of the NHL. They will also appear on the Golf Channel and ESPN/ESP2.

The ads will also appear on ESPN.com, SI.com, WSJ.com, Forbes.com and financial advisor sites such as Morningstar.com and TheStreet.com.

Longfritz said that the goal was to portray, as realistically as possible, current concerns of investors and to urge them to talk to financial advisors.

"If we absolutely show the truth, what investors are feeling at this moment, by chronicling what we got from the focus groups, we think we can generate investor trust," he said. "Show that we know what investors are going through."