Catalyst Funds, an alternative-focused mutual fund company, recently announced that it has surpassed $1 billion in assets under management (AUM).
This growth (100 percent year-to-date) has allowed the company to continue expanding, all the while hiring additional talent.
“We’ve been building our sales force significantly,” Jerry Szilagyi, founder and CEO of Catalyst Funds, told StreetID. “We currently have about 15 wholesalers around the country and four internal wholesalers, mostly based in New York. We’ve added six wholesalers this year, plus three internals. We just hired two additional internal wholesalers that will be starting this month. We’re looking to add a few more external wholesalers, as well as another four or five internals.”
Szilagyi said that Catalyst Funds has several wholesaling territories available, including the Ohio Valley, the Western New York area, and the Pacific Northwest.
“In terms of our internal wholesaling, we’re looking for people to work out of our New York City office on Broadway,” said Szilagyi. “These are what are called ‘internal wholesalers,’ which help the external wholesalers manage their territory, marketing to financial advisors. And, as I said, we’re looking for at least four new people that we’d like to add over the next two or three months in that area.”
Additionally, Szilagyi said that Catalyst Funds is “always looking for high-quality portfolio managers that have some kind of unique trading strategy.”
“One thing that we’ve done recently (and had some good success with) is taking managers that have been running small hedge funds that haven’t been able to get a lot of traction in terms of raising assets for one reason or another,” Szilagyi added. “[We convert] those hedge funds into mutual funds and bring on the manager as a portfolio manager under Catalyst. We’ve done a couple of those transactions, and the latest one has been fairly successful for us, as well as the trading manager.”
“A Small Firm Culture”
Catalyst Funds employees can take full advantage of the firm’s smaller size.
“We still try to have a small firm culture,” said Szilagyi. “It’s very entrepreneurial and marketing-oriented. It’s a very flat organization. As the CEO I talk directly to most of the employees, at least on a weekly basis, so we try and nurture that entrepreneurial attitude. It’s a very teamwork-oriented type of culture. We’re looking to exploit some niches in the investment marketplace that a lot of the large films have not yet. So far it’s been working and we’ve been gaining a lot of momentum.”
As a small firm, Szilagyi said that Catalyst Funds does not have a major training program or anything along those lines. Thus, the company needs individuals who can dive into the job as soon as they arrive.
“We are really looking for self-starters, motivated people, that can really jump into a role and hit the ground running,” said Szilagyi. “We don’t have a lot of layers of management. There’s not a lot of oversight. People are generally…have a lot of leeway to go ahead and do their job the best way that they can. So we’re really looking for people that can jump in and do that without a lot of oversight.”
There may be limited growth potential at some small firms, but Szilagyi said that is not the case at Catalyst Funds.
“I think the growth potential is very good,” said Szilagyi. “We’ve had some promotions with people very quickly here because we are growing fairly quickly. We’ve grown 100 percent so far, year-to-date.
“As we do get bigger, there will be the need for some of those management and oversight roles. For example, we’ve already had internal wholesalers promoted to external wholesalers. We’ve had people come in as an analyst working on a fund with a portfolio manager being promoted to portfolio manager. In a lot of ways it’s somewhat of a ground floor opportunity to get into a company that’s growing rapidly and hopefully will continue to do that. So there’s a lot of potential in terms of growth for people that come on board now.”
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