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How to Market "Toxic" Funds to Investors


My editor asks this question:

If individual investors are going to be offered “toxic” asset funds, what euphemism will be used to market them? “Junk” is taken. “Trash”? “Other-Side-of-the-Tracks?

Today’s WSJ has a story about BlackRock Inc., Allianz SE’s Pacific Investment Management Co. and Legg Mason Inc. launching so-called “toxic” closed-end funds.

In recent years, the mutual fund industry, which isn’t exactly a hot-bed of marketing innovation, has moved to make the names of fund portfolios reflect underlying holdings. Thus, you’ll find plain-vanilla monikers which clearly spell out a fund’s investment objective such as T. Rowe Price Growth Stock Fund (growth stocks) or Janus High Yield (high-yield bonds).

So far, no cute marketing name has emerged to make “toxic” portfolios sound appealing or even palatable to individual investors. One of my colleagues offers up the suggestion of “Legacy Funds,” but I think that one has a geriatric tinge. “Distressed” is also taken.

How would you pitch toxic funds to masses? Put on your marketing thinking cap and let us know the best name for “toxic” portfolios.


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