Barnett Banks Inc. has tapped a veteran banker from its own ranks to lead its high-profile investment products effort.

Following a four-month search both inside and outside the bank, Barnett promoted David M. Strickland to chairman and chief executive of Barnett Securities Inc., the Jacksonville-based bank's brokerage unit.

Mr. Strickland, who has been with the $38 billion-asset bank for 15 years, replaces James W.C. Daniel, who left in April to join Wall Street Investors Services, an investment products marketing firm based in New York.

Unlike Mr. Daniel, a veteran of the securities industry, Mr. Strickland is a newcomer to investment products. Since 1988, he has been running Barnett's Martin County bank affiliate. Before that, he was chief financial officer of at the Plam Beach County affiliate.

"My first objective is to learn this business, and I intend to do that right out of the box," he said in a phone interview.

In his new post, Mr. Strickland is in charge of a brokerage unit and a retail trust sales force. He will also act as a liaison with James Mitchell & Co., a San Diego-based marketing firm that provides insurance products for Barnett's customers.

Barnett has $3.4 billion of assets under management in its proprietary Emerald funds and in 1993 ranked 22nd among banks that manage mutual funds.

Many banks with big investment products programs are hiring executives from the investments industry to run them.

For example, Charlotte-based NationsBank Corp., recently wooed Mitchell Grant away from Putnam Investments and hometown rival First Union Corp. snared William Ennis, from Colonial Mutual Funds.

However, doing time in the mutual fund world is not a prerequisite to be chief of a bank's investment products program. As long as long as there are some seasoned professionals in the management ranks, it is "not essential that the head guy brings that expertise," said Avi Nachmany, a partner at Strategic Insight, a New York consulting firm.

26 Years at Hutton and Merrill Lynch

Having "a good healthy banking background could be a major plus," added Mr. Daniel, Mr. Strickland's predeccesor.

Mr. Daniel had spent 26 years and E.F. Hutton & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co. before taking the Barnett post six years ago. While he says his time in the brokerage industry served him well, he as quick to add that "the name of the game is partnering with your banking associates."

Appointing a banker should also help Barnett's cross-selling efforts and create greater coordination between different areas of the bank, said Richard Ayotte, senior partner at American Brokerage Consultants, a St. Petersburg, Fla., consulting firm.

Mr. Stickland joined the bank's corporate cash management division in 1979 and was promoted to senior vice president of Corporate Services in 1983.

Earlier he was a vice president with the Trust Company Bank in Atlanta.

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