MFS Investment Management

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MFS Investment Management
Industry Investment management
Founded 1924
Headquarters 111 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Key people
Robert Manning, Co-CEO & Chairman
Michael Roberge, Co-CEO, President & CIO
Products Mutual funds, asset management
AUM US$445.8 billion (February 28, 2015)
Number of employees
1,700+ (December 2013)
Parent Sun Life Financial

MFS Investment Management (MFS) is an American-based global investment manager, formerly known as Massachusetts Financial Services. It is owned by Sun Life Financial of Canada, with subsidiary headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts, and offices in London, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto.[1] Founded in 1924, MFS is one of the oldest asset management companies in the world and has been credited with pioneering the mutual fund.[2] The very first mutual fund, the Massachusetts Investors Trust fund, is still in operation today. Currently, MFS has USD$413.2 billion in assets under management.[3]


Headquarters of MFS

Established in 1924, MFS is a global asset manager with investment offices in Boston, Hong Kong, London, Mexico City, São Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto.[1]

Over time, MFS has been an innovator in the asset management industry, including creating one of the first in-house research departments in the mutual fund industry in 1932, launching the first high-yield municipal bond fund and the first global balanced fund, and more recently creating “outcome-oriented” products, such as its line of target-risk, target-date, and other asset allocation strategies.[4]

MFS’s family of more than 80 U.S. mutual funds is distributed through financial advisors.[5] On the institutional side, MFS Institutional Advisors, Inc. manages equity and fixed-income assets globally for pension plans, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, endowments and foundations, multi-employer plans, and investment advisory firms.[6] MFS also offers the Meridian Funds through financial intermediaries to non-U.S. investors. MFS investment products are available on many defined contribution retirement platforms for qualified retirement plans, including 401(k)s.[4]

Investment Approach[edit]

Beyond a long-term focus, MFS adheres to three basic principles when creating or managing investments: integrated research, global collaboration, and active-risk management.[1] Integrated research refers to MFS's method of having all disciplines - fundamental equity analysts, quantitative analysts, credit analysts, sovereign analysts and portfolio manager - collaborate during the investment process.[7] Global collaboration describes the firm's approach to hiring analysts and managers who can work as members of these collaborative teams.[8][9] Active risk management refers to rigorous, systematic and timely risk reviews at the security, firm and portfolio level, with a focus on generating risk-adjusted returns.[10]

Charitable Contributions[edit]

MFS contributes to charitable giving programs that support The Jimmy Fund, Jumpstart, and City Year. MFS has sponsored the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge since 1999 fielding a team of riders each year in addition to corporate sponsorship.[11] Since 1999, the firm has surpassed $6 million in cumulative contributions.


The company was founded in 1924 by L. Sherman Adams, Charles H. Learoyd and Ashton L. Carr.[12][13] The company's oldest fund is the Massachusetts Investors Trust, a mutual fund created with $50,000 at the company's inception and reported to be "the world's first open-end investment fund" and "a business breakthrough that changed our lives in a profound way".[12] The company used "brokerage channels" to market its shares to the public and later expanded to $14 million in assets over the next five years.[12] During the stock market crash of 1929 the fund survived an 83% loss and went on to create a second fund in 1934. By 1959, the Massachusetts Investors Trust fund had become the largest mutual fund in the United States.

In 1969, MIT was reorganized as Massachusetts Financial Services (MFS) to reflect the firm's broadened scope of products and services.

In 1976, MFS offered one of the nation’s first national municipal bond funds (Managed Municipal Bond Trust) and in 1981, MFS launched the country’s first globally diversified fixed-income fund (Massachusetts Financial International Trust-Bond Portfolio). In 1986, MFS offered the first closed-end, high-yield municipal bond fund to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1998, MFS Chairman and Chief Executive, A. Keith Brodkin died, causing a major shift in top management. MFS's assets under management grew from $55 billion to $90 billion between 1997 and 1998, and was reported to be the fastest growing company amongst the twenty largest that funds sold through brokers.[13]

During the early 2000s, MFS and five other mutual fund companies in the Boston area were investigated by Massachusetts and New Hampshire regulators. That same year, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that MFS made "false and misleading" statements in its fund prospectus about its policy on market trading and market timing. MFS paid $350 million to settle state and federal fraud charges. MFS appointed Robert Pozen as non-executive chairman from 2004 to 2010. [14] MFS then implemented a set of company reforms to inform investors about fees, keep fund boards independent and create deterrents to market timing. These changes were intended to addressed the concerns of regulators and lawmakers and were praised by fund industry analysts and consumer advocates. These reforms ended the "soft-dollar" arrangements which allowed the swapping of brokerage commissions for market research and data.

From 2010 to today, assets under management have grown from $253 billion to more than $413 billion. MFS has received many distinctions. MFS was named 2010 Equity Manager of the Year by Global Pensions magazine, received the Lipper Fund Award in 2011 for Best Overall Large Company, Best Specialist Equity Fund House by Morningstar UK in 2013, and in 2014 Barron's named MFS among the "Best Mutual Fund Families", based on its management approach and investment results, for the sixth consecutive year. [15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "MFS Investment Management Announces Liquidating Distribution for MFS InterMarket Income Trust I | Business Wire". Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  2. ^ "85 Innovations 1917-1938 -". 
  3. ^ "MFS Corporate Fact Sheet".  horizontal tab character in |title= at position 5 (help)
  4. ^ a b "MFS Investment Management Announces the Formation of Defined Contribution Investment Only (DCIO) Business Development Office | Business Wire". Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  5. ^ Services, First Command Financial. "First Command Financial Services - Investments". Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  6. ^ "MFS Institutional Advisors, Inc.: Private Company Information - Businessweek". Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  7. ^ "MFS sees institutional opportunities in Nordic region - Investment Europe". Investment Europe. 2013-12-24. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  8. ^ "MFS' Collaborative Culture". Morningstar Advisor. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  9. ^ "Analysis: Teamwork, controls yield rare comeback for MFS". Reuters. 2012-06-26. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  10. ^ Strauss, Lawrence C. "Around the World With MFS". Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  11. ^ "MFS Investment Management". PMC. Retrieved 2016-06-09. 
  12. ^ a b c "85 Innovations 1917-1983", December 23, 2002,, Retrieved June 2011
  13. ^ a b Amey Stone, "MFS MIT: A Fund That Epitomizes Long-Term Investing", Bloomberg, August 13, 1998, Retrieved July 19, 2011.
  14. ^ Andrew Caffrey and Jeffrey Krasner, "Mass., N.H. broaden probe", Boston Globe, November 19, 2003, Retrieved July 19, 2011.
  15. ^ "MFS Wins Lipper Award as Best Overall Large Company", Retrieved 2011

External links[edit]