First Interstate Bancorp has consolidated its investment management functions under one umbrella to strengthen its wealth and money management sectors.

With its recent formation of a capital management group, First Interstate has combined investment functions in one unit responsible for managing $23 billion of assets for individuals and trusts.

The services offered by the capital management group will include money management for individuals, trusts, foundations, retirement plans, 401(k) plans, and mutual funds - services that used to be offered mostly on a regional basis.

The consolidation of the Los Angeles-based bank's investment management operations is spearheaded by Thomas N. Slonaker, who was brought in last October as executive vice president of the corporation and chief investment officer.

Under Mr. Slonaker, research and proprietary and pooled fund management have been centralized in Scottsdale, Ariz. This accounts for about one- third of the capital management group's staffing. The group has added 13 employees - eight directors and five portfolio managers.

The rest of the investment management arm is made up of about 80 account managers, who will remain close to clients in 18 offices, divided among four regions.

The beefed up investment arm feeds into the bank's trust and private services group, which has gotten a lot of attention from First Interstate's senior management in the last year.

Under the direction of Daniel J. Wroblewski, a senior vice president in charge of business development for that unit, First Interstate has tripled its trust sales staff, to 27 employees, in two years.

"We see it as a very strong market to be in, and to be in there in a significant way," Mr. Slonaker said. "We already are in there in a significant way."

The reorganization also follows the consolidation of management and marketing of the bank's proprietary mutual funds.

Mr. Slonaker said the bank company is merging two families of proprietary mutual funds. Combined, they will be made up of 18 funds with distinct investment objectives and hold close to $5 billion of assets.

The funds being merged - a process expected to be completed by Oct. 1 - are First Interstate's Pacifica family of 10 funds, which were acquired along with the purchase of San Diego Trust last year, and the bank company's homegrown Westcore family of funds. The combined funds will all have the Pacifica name.

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