Meritage Portfolio Management was founded in 1991 to provide separate account management of equity and balanced portfolios for institutions and private clients. In late 2013 Meritage launched mutual funds based on its three equity strategies: Value, Growth and Yield-Focus.
The institutional firm contemplated launching mutual funds to better service financial advisors and broaden their business structure. The firm pursued this idea with financial advisors who utilized their separate accounts, but there was little demand for these products at the time. Meritage knew it would be a challenge to launch and grow a real mutual fund business; but if successful, they would greatly diversify their revenue streams and client base. Before moving forward, the firm wanted to make the business case for or against this expensive and risky initiative to ensure they were making the right decision.
Meritage partnered with SunStar Strategic to develop a better understanding of the mutual fund industry, their competition, and how the products are sold. Over four months, they learned their major obstacles and the steps we recommended they take to be successful. After debating the pros and cons of this initiative, Meritage decided to move forward. SunStar helped them navigate positioning issues such as appropriate fees and share classes, and many other decisions associated with a fund launch. In addition, we devised a comprehensive launch strategy that included the option for internal or external sales and marketing efforts.
We then worked with them to launch the public face of the three funds. These efforts included upgrading their message, helping the portfolio managers tell a better and consistent story and consulting with the third party sales force along with Meritage. Based on those key messages and an in-depth understanding of their process, features and benefits, SunStar designed and wrote copy in collaboration with Meritage for a website, pitchbook and fact sheets.
SunStar worked with Meritage in a messaging and media training workshop to help them refine their key messages, specifically with respect to strategies to articulate to RIAs, and to develop communications skills for media interviews and consultants/client meetings. SunStar was able to then utilize these key messages to reach out to the financial press and arrange high level interviews for CEO Mark Eveans.
As part of an ongoing long-term PR strategy, SunStar arranged a New York media tour for Mr. Eveans, where he met with reporters from top tier publications and was a featured guest on financial broadcast networks to discuss Meritage, the firm’s investment strategy, the Meritage Yield Focus Equity Fund and relevant current news.
Following the proactive press circuit, Meritage and Mr. Eveans were featured in both print and broadcast outlets, namely Bloomberg Radio, Barron’s.com, MutualFundWire and MarketWatch Radio. As a result of Mr. Eveans’ appearance on Bloomberg Radio, Meritage secured a lead from a wealthy investor who was in the process of selling his business, creating a potential business opportunity worth millions.