When A.D. Frazier Jr. talks about his professional life, he is quick to label himself.
"Once a banker, always a banker," he says.
And after spending 22 years in the industry, he's certainly earned that right. But when the 52-year-old Mr. Frazier last month took on a high-profile position with the money management firm Invesco PLC, London, his career path turned in a direction that, while far removed from traditional banking, is an area many former bankers are finding attractive.
"As investment management companies become larger and more complex, they're going to need more generalized managers - and that's where bankers, who are used to dealing with complex problems and multiple lines of business, will be very effective," said Roger Stoy of the Heidrick & Struggles executive search firm.
"Down the road, you will find more senior executives from banking going to investment management in a general management kind of activity," said Mr. Stoy, who is managing partner of the firm's Washington office.
Though it is still rare for a traditional corporate banker like Mr. Frazier to move into the world of global investment management, droves of bankers with backgrounds in trust and investment services have left banking for money management in recent years.
Take Gary Zino. For two decades he worked in trust operations, marketing investment products for banks in Philadelphia and Florida. He left his position as a senior vice president at Barnett Banks Inc., where he oversaw marketing and sales for trust services, to join Fisher Investments, a San Francisco investment management firm.
In his new position, which he started in September, Mr. Zino oversees private client services in Florida for Fisher Investments, working with high-net-worth private investors.
The change is dramatic, he says.
"I'm doing a lot more client servicing than I did in my latter days of Barnett, where I had risen to a senior management position," Mr. Zino said. "As a banker, as you get promoted you get further and further away from working with clients, so this is a plus for me personally."
Consolidation in the banking industry drives the trend, spurring many longtime bankers to look for new ways to market their skills.
Phillip M. Larkins found that out when Charlotte, N.C.-based NationsBank Corp. acquired Atlanta-based Bank South in early 1996. Having spent his entire 26-year career with Bank South, Mr. Larkins, a senior portfolio manager, decided to break out on his own. He and four others formed Legacy South Inc. as a local money management firm in Atlanta aimed at private investors.
"It was rather obvious that the consolidation in banking that has been under way for several years was going to continue," said Mr. Larkins. "We just felt like the relationship side of our business could possibly suffer, and we wanted to focus on the relationship side of running the money."
Hubert Harris, chief executive of Invesco's individual service group and a former banker himself, said that banking experience is helpful when working in money management, though bankers do not always fit in easily.
"Money management is clearly different from banking," he said. "But the training and discipline and focus involved in banking is helpful. And as a banker, you are already a student of the financial services industry."