“We’re the quiet company that’s having a lot of success at an otherwise tough time for many asset management companies,” said Robert Manning, chairman and CEO of MFS Investment Management.
Manning told AdvisorOne of Friday that the Boston-based company had “flows coming into every channel” as many of its competitors struggle with stemming ongoing outflows.
Maybe it has something to do with longevity. MFS is the nation’s oldest mutual fund company, and widely credited with developing the nation’s first mutual fund, MFS Massachusetts Investors Trust (MITTX). But that longevity also extends to its people; for example, Manning rose through the ranks to his current position after starting as an analyst in 1984.
Manning doesn’t buy it, and notes other reasons for the firm’s success.
“What we’re doing is straight down the middle,” he said. “We’re not doing private equity or many of the other hot, new things that many of our competitors are doing. We have our global institutional business, our offshore business, our domestic retail business and then the pension and endowment money we manage.”
Part of the reason for avoiding so much of what others are doing is that fact that the company is owned by the Canadian giant Sun Life Financial, which purchased MFS for $65 million in 1982. As of April 30, MFS reports $358.8 billion in assets under management.
“Because we’re owned by Sun Life, we don’t have the same pressures as public companies,” Manning added. “We built our business organically, which is different than many other asset managers. We have a centralized manufacturing engine that feeds every one of our new products, and those products are based on strong security selection.”
It’s a way to ensure durability, consistency and “the ability to perform in all markets.”