Aetna unit will market Chapman Co. mutual fund; Alliance could boost offering significantly; Investment brokers


The Chapman Co. said yesterday that Aetna Retirement Services Inc. has agreed to market the Baltimore-based brokerage and investment banking firm's mutual fund to nearly 2 million customers.

The alliance could bring millions more dollars into the 10-month-old mutual fund, called the Chapman DEM Equity Fund, which has $11 million in assets under management.

"We are expecting some pretty significant growth," said Nathan A. Chapman Jr., president of Chapman Co., which manages more than $600 million for clients. "For the first time, we will have access to huge, mainstream employer-sponsored pension and retirement plans, annuities and individual retirement accounts."

The Chapman DEM Equity Fund is unique because it invests in small and midsized publicly traded U.S. companies that are controlled by women, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Latinos. The acronym, DEM, which has been trademarked by Chapman, stands for "domestic emerging markets."

Companies in the fund's portfolio include watchmaker Movado Group Inc., Granite Broadcasting Corp., apparel maker Warnaco Group Inc. and Univision Communications Inc., a Spanish-language television broadcaster.

Chapman said the fund has risen 12.3 percent since it was launched in April, beating the benchmark Russell 2000 index, which returned negative 13.7 percent for the same period.

"Through the Chapman fund, our investors now have the opportunity to invest in the highest-quality emerging-market companies," said Willard I. Hill Jr., head of emerging markets for Aetna Retirement Services, the financial services subsidiary of Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna Inc., one of the nation's largest insurance companies.

The fund will be marketed to Aetna Retirement customers through a variety of retirement accounts and variable annuities. It will also be offered alongside more than 100 other mutual funds managed by companies that include Fidelity Investments, Janus and MFS Investment Management, Hill said.

Pub Date: 2/05/99

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