The architect of Eaton Vance Corp.'s bank sales effort, Brian Jacobs, has resigned.

Mr. Jacobs, 36, has taken a job at Bear, Stearns & Co. as a managing director of its nascent mutual fund family. He will market the funds, which manage $381 million of assets through brokers and mutual fund supermarkets.

"This is a great opportunity to take the next step in my career," Mr. Jacobs said.

Mr. Jacobs spent nearly seven years building the Eaton Vance division that markets mutual funds to banks and financial planners. Hired in 1990, Mr. Jacobs said he has captured $5 billion in sales from those two channels.

Though Boston-based Eaton Vance is hardly a dominant player in the bank market, the company, which manages only $14.7 billion of assets, has done more than make headway, competitors say.

Mr. Jacobs "brought them from relative obscurity to a strong position," said Barry Knight, senior vice president in charge of sales through banks at a cross-town rival, $15 billion-asset Pioneer Group.

Despite Eaton Vance's forte as a bond fund shop, 60% of its sales through banks come from its Prime Rate Reserves Fund, a high-yield portfolio that invests in noninvestment grade corporate loans.

The company has also been hawking unique specialty stock portfolios to keep sales afloat until the bond market picks up again. For instance, Eaton Vance began offering last year a portfolio that invests in "information age" stocks - companies in the telecommunications, entertainment, and personal computer fields.

Succeeding Mr. Jacobs at Eaton Vance as senior vice president is William M. Gillen. Mr. Gillen, who could not be reached for comment, was a vice president in charge of sales to banks and financial planners in the New England region.

Before joining Eaton Vance in 1991, Mr. Gillen worked for a competitor in bond funds, Chicago-based John Nuveen & Co., as its New England sales representative.

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