Officials of the Bank of California, which merged with Union Bank April 1, are studying how the deal might benefit their two mutual fund families, each of which run options in the banks' fully bundled 401(k) products.
Merus Capital Management, a subsidiary of the Bank of California, runs the HighMark Funds, which offer a top-performing equity income investment style. Union Capital Advisors runs the Stepstone funds, which have a popular value-momentum strategy. Union Capital is bigger in fixed income, but Merus has more in equity assets, according to Luke C. Mazur, president of Merus.
The new name for the combined entity is Union Bank of California.
Gregory Knopf, managing director of the mutual funds division for Union Bank of California, said bank executives might put both mutual fund families under one umbrella but retaining their separate identities, with one offering load funds and the other offering no-load funds. It also is merging the 401(k) products and employee benefits sales forces.
While Union Bank has a strong presence in Southern California, the Bank of California is stronger in northern California, Oregon and Washington.
"The merger will be very complementary in terms of coverage of the West Coast," Mr. Mazur said.
Merus also is looking aggressively at the registered investment adviser market for added distribution.
Mr. Mazur said it is likely the two banks' money market funds would be merged soon.
Bank of California has $100 million in 401(k) assets; Union Bank has $600 million in 401(k) assets.