Threadneedle Investments, the asset management company owned by troubled insurance group Zurich Financial Services, is reviewing its &£2m advertising account held by Citigate Albert Frank.
The review, being handled by the AAR, was triggered by the departure of marketing director Alan Mearns two months ago. He was poached to be global marketing director of Mellon Global Investments.
Richard Eats, Threadneedle’s communications director and acting marketing director, says he has drawn up a shortlist of four agencies, including Citigate, and that he is close to making a decision.
Eats adds that the company’s marketing strategy is being adapted to reflect recent changes in the fund management industry, including the move away from direct selling to working through intermediaries. “We want to focus on our brand and on our team – we have a strong track record of serving the intermediary market,” he says. Threadneedle has &£45bn under management.
Eats denies recent press speculation that Threadneedle might be up for sale as part of Zurich’s restructuring after the Swiss insurance group announced a &£1.3bn loss for the first half of 2002. Zurich has admitted that it needs to raise cash and that it is planning to divest itself of non-core businesses – it has already sold venture capital business Gresham to a management buyout team. The insurance giant has also closed Zurich Bank, the high-interest account online bank it launched earlier this year (MW last week).