Fidelity Investments has created three new senior sales posts to bolster its bank distribution unit.

The Boston mutual fund company tapped Gary Cohen to be national sales manager for the bank broker-dealer channel. It also named Kirk Williamson eastern division sales manager and Scott Cousino western division sales manager.

All three appointments, effective Monday, were from within Fidelity. The new posts give Fidelity's bank distribution unit the same leadership structure as the company's other divisions, said William F. O'Grady, head of the institutional, international, and retail channels at Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Co.

The executives, who report to Mr. O'Grady, will lead the company's 16 bank-dedicated wholesalers and will work directly with banks in many cases. The division sales managers, for instance, will spend four days a week in the field, working with wholesalers and meeting with bank brokers.

They will support bank sales operations by, for instance, providing more investment, estate planning, and wealth transfer ideas, Mr. O'Grady said.

Banks "will have use of our staff to get more of these ideas," he said.

Mr. O'Grady said he expects sales of the company's mutual funds and variable annuities through banks to rise to $3 billion this year, from $2.5 billion in 1998.

One reason is that Fidelity has made it onto "every major bank's short list" of preferred providers, Mr. O'Grady said.

Several banking companies have recently shortened the A-lists for both their own broker-dealer units and for regional brokerages they have bought. These include BankAmerica Corp., now Bank of America Corp., and Citigroup.

The creation of the new executive posts at Fidelity dovetails with a realignment the company made last year to respond to the trend of banks' buying regional brokerages.

In that initiative, it created the flexibility to deal with merged banks and brokerages on the top corporate level or the brokerage level.

Michael Kellogg heads the executive-level part of that arrangement, and Mr. O'Grady leads the other component.

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