Another batch of key players have emerged in the contest to control the investment businesses of the soon-to-be-merged Chase Manhattan Corp. and Chemical Banking Corp.
Leonard M. Spalding Jr., chief executive of Chase's Vista Capital Management, will take over the global mutual funds group for the new Chase, which is to be formed early next year. And J. Peter Benzie Jr., who was president of Chase Manhattan Investment Services, will now head the combined brokerage.
Mr. Spalding will report to James W. Zeigon, who was previously named chief of global asset management and private banking. Mr. Benzie will report to Jack Stack, the managing director of the new Chase's direct financial services group.
Most of the top asset management and private banking executives named on Friday will come from Chase. This comes as no surprise to observers who have been following the executive jockeying since the merger was announced in August.
"Chase has been one of the more innovative and successful bank-run fund companies out there," said Avi Nachmany, a partner at Strategic Insight, New York. "They have established a good investment management reputation, which Chemical has not really had."
Geoffrey Bobroff, a consultant in East Greenwich, R.I., added: "Chase is in the driver's seat when it comes to asset management."
Chase was one of the first banks to come out with its own family of mutual funds, in 1987. The Vista Funds have since grown ninefold to $9 billion in 23 portfolios, Mr. Nachmany said.
He noted that Chase was a pioneer among banks in creating different fee structures for its funds, and in building up its distribution outside the bank. Three-quarters of its fund sales now come through unaffiliated brokerages.
"They made a very big push in the markets about a year ago, which contributed to the fast growth of the fund complex," said Douglas Trott, president of the Toronto-based Taddingstone Consulting Group. "Chemical hasn't had anywhere near the same performance."
He said Chemical's money market funds make an appealing addition to the Chase lineup, because they are a popular investment for sweep accounts.
Chemical manages $6.6 billion of mutual fund assets, more than 90% of which are in money market funds.
Chase's Mr. Benzie beat out Leonard E. Malkin, the managing director of Chemical Investment Services, for the top brokerage job. He will report to Mr. Benzie as chief operating officer of the Chase Manhattan brokerage, which is yet to be named.
Mr. Benzie was hired four years ago by Chase to start up the bank's fund sales outside the bank channel. Before coming to Chase, he was director of marketing at Lord Abbett & Co. and director of mutual funds sales at the old Shearson Lehman Brothers.
Mr. Bobroff expects that the new Chase will benefit from the old Chase's investment management know-how and Chemical's distribution channels.
"With the acquisition of Chase, Chemical finally has a credible product line that they can repackage and deliver to Chemical's qualified plan marketplace," he said. "Chase also gets the benefit of Chemical's strong branch system."
- John Kimelman contributed to this report.