Chase Manhattan says technology will be a key to the success of the investment advisory arm it formed last year.

The company has spent more than $40 million to upgrade a voice and data network linking portfolio managers, research analysts, and relationship managers in five cities worldwide.

"We have the ability through desktop video conferencing to have relationship managers, as well as product specialists, 'meet' in interactive sessions with the various research heads and boutique heads to better understand the markets, to understand what the impact is to their investments and to businesses that their clients are involved with," said Stephen E. Prostano, chief operating officer of Chase Asset Management Inc., which manages $60 billion of assets for institutions.

Officials said technology is critical to the mission of the new unit, which is aimed at combining the expert management and local market knowledge of a niche player with the resources available to a major financial services company.

"The network has provided for the research analysts and portfolio managers to essentially talk daily and work toward one common strategy for the global asset management organization," said Mr. Prostano.

Institutional customers will get a less cosmic but no less real benefit, the bank said. While portfolio managers work in different cities, the bank produces a single, integrated statement for clients. "Technology has allowed us to do that," he said.

Other technology initiatives in the works involve Internet capabilities and incorporating value-at-risk analysis for risk management. "There is a great deal of focus on both," said Mr. Prostano.

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