No. 1 bank combining money management units

Rich folks grouped with mutual funds

Bank of America

August 24, 1999|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bank of America Corp., the biggest U.S. bank, said yesterday that it is combining money management units catering to wealthy people, institutions, and mutual fund investors into one group "to more effectively serve client needs and build our business."

Michael Kenneally, now president of Bank of America Investment Management in St. Louis, is to oversee the money management functions for the new group.

Holly Deem, the president of TradeStreet Investment Associates Inc. in Charlotte, is to head operations, and Robert Gordon, president of NationsBanc Advisors Inc. in Charlotte, is to direct marketing and product development.

Charlotte-based Bank of America's asset-management operation employs about 950 people and oversees more than $234 billion in assets.

"This is about growing our business, putting all capabilities in one group, not shrinking our business," said spokeswoman Ann Anderson when asked if jobs will be cut by combining the businesses.

Kenneally's wealth-management unit manages more than $124 billion. Deem's operation, Bank of America's biggest institutional arm, has about $100 billion in assets. Gordon's group is the investment adviser to Nations Funds, which manages $68 billion in more than 60 mutual funds.

Bank of America's asset management group also includes Boatmen's Capital Management Inc. in St. Louis; Sovran Capital Management in Richmond, Va.; Chicago Equity Partners in Chicago; and operations in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The group is headed by Owen "Bob" Shell.

"Our conclusion is that we have a unique opportunity to build on our current strengths to create a world-class investment management organization," Shell said in a statement.

In January, another Bank of America unit, the institutional equity investment business, decided to shed the bank's name and call itself Chicago Equity Partners to better compete with independent managers. Bank officials said they have not determined whether Chicago Equity or any of the other Bank of America units would be allowed to retain their current names.

"We lost opportunities" to gain business because bank subsidiaries don't have the same credibility with pension consultants, who dominate searches for institutional money managers, Chicago Equity chief James Miller said in January.

Bank of America is the biggest U.S. manager of assets for high-net-worth individuals, though its total managed assets are dwarfed by Fidelity Investments, Merrill Lynch & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Mellon Bank Corp. At the end of 1998, Bank of America was managing about $200 billion for individuals and institutions.

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