The head of Compass Bancshares' investment program has announced he will leave the bank to help start a business venture.

Randy Reynolds, executive vice president and manager of Compass' retail investment sales division, said Tuesday he plans to depart in late September. He will leave behind a widely admired investment program that has improved much during his tenure.

"Banks have been great to me," said Mr. Reynolds, who has been at Birmingham, Ala.-based Compass for four years. "This is strictly a money play. It's a chance to be with a start-up company I firmly believe has a chance to go public within the next three years."

Mr. Reynolds, 38, who notified superiors of his decision a month ago, said he is helping to search for a successor.

"It's one of the better programs around the country," said a bank-sales executive at a mutual fund company. "It's a strong performer with a good sales culture."

Fee income from sales of annuities, mutual funds, discount brokerage, and other services are projected at $22 million this year, up from $16 million last year and $11 million the previous year.

A dramatically expanded sales force has accounted for much of that success. When Mr. Reynolds arrived at the bank in 1993, there were six licensed sales representatives; now there are 70. The number of licensed platform reps has also grown over the past four years, to 315 from 80.

Such coordination between the platform side and the investment products unit is a big reason for the success of Mr. Reynolds' operation, said Kenneth Kehrer, a consultant in Princeton, N.J. "They're not just an appendage of the bank," he said.

Compass also started a life insurance program this year, and 10 insurance specialists report to Mr. Reynolds.

Sales of annuities were $140 million last year, up from $103 million the year before, and Mr. Reynolds projects sales of $185 million this year.

Mutual fund sales amounted to $160 million last year, up from $110 million, and projections call for $195 million in sales this year.

Mr. Reynolds' new company will buy dental specialty and plastic surgery practices and draw revenue from their operations. As chairman and chief executive, Mr. Reynolds will assemble a team of professionals who will identify prospects and encourage them to sell to the partnership.

Mr. Reynolds was president and CEO of New Orleans-based Hibernia Bank's investment and insurance units from 1986 to 1991. He was CEO for Michigan National Bank's investment unit before joining Compass.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.