SCHRODER Investment Management, the retail and institutional fund management group, has boosted its distribution network through a deal with a bank to market its range of unit trusts. The territory's leading fund management groups increasingly are turning to banks to complement direct sales and adviser outlets. Schroders has announced an agreement with the Bank of America to make available a range of eight unit trusts through its 17 branches in the territory. It also has distribution deals with five other banks, including Citibank, Hang Seng Bank and Hua Chiao Commercial Bank, taking its total branch network to more than 150. Betty Young, assistant director of unit trust marketing, said: 'Results of selling unit trusts through bank networks are very successful and it will become a trend in the industry.' She said banks now accounted for more than 50 per cent of the group's sales. Other major groups, such as HSBC Asset Management and Fidelity Investment Services, also are strengthening their marketing through retail banks. Fidelity has agreements with 16 of the territory's 19 bank groups, giving it outlets through 500 branches. The companies deny the increasing use of banks will pose a threat to traditional sales venues, such as brokers. Richard Wastcoat, regional director for marketing, said banks had the credibility, particularly in the China marketplace, and brokers tended to offer more specialist services.