by Nancy Marshall Genzer
In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet tells Romeo, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Clearly, Juliet never had to name a mutual fund. The name is crucial.
Just ask Izzy DeBellis, who works for a New York marketing. DeBellis tells clients to pick a name investors can visualize. He mentions a hedge fund named Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the gates to Hades in Greek mythology. It’s quite an image. “That image is of a dog that is guarding something is very valuable and you do not want to mess with that dog,” he says. “So they’re saying, that money with us, we’re going to guard it as if we’re that three-headed dog, and we’re going to protect it.”
Les Funtleyder could have used that advice when he was coming up with a name for his new health care fund, a cross between a hedge fund and a mutual fund. Funtleyder works for financial services firm Miller Tabak. He’ll manage the money and decided to try naming the fund himself. “It was pretty much me coming up with ideas and using a thesaurus,” he says.
Funtleyder bounced names off of colleagues, starting with famous explorers and ships. “Then we went through the classical languages. Greek, and Latin, and Italian. There were some words there, but most people wouldn’t really understand what we were doing.”
Then Funtleyder thought, “I’ve got it! We’ll name the fund ‘Aperture’!” Like the adjustable opening in a camera. Funtleyder wanted investors to think about new openings, new opportunities.
I decided to run that name by some downtown office workers.
Aaron Mintzes said, “I think of playing a woodwind instrument.”
Sherry Gassway-Fountain said, “[It’s] almost like an appendage, a part of something.”
And Cara Elkins thinks the word aperture is “like a hole opening.”
Hey great! Throw your money down a hole while playing a clarinet! Not exactly what Les Funtleyder had in mind. Funtleyder’s colleagues didn’t like the name either. So he settled on the Miller Tabac Healthcare Transformation Fund. Boring, but to the point. We’ll see what investors think.
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