First Union Corp. is putting the spotlight on its private banking money managers. The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank created a new division, First Investment Advisors, to house its 125 trust and private banking investment managers, and hired a bank investment veteran to run it.

First Investment Advisors will be part of the bank's capital management group. It will be led by chief investment officer and managing director Alan R. Adelman, who joined First Union in January after more than 19 years in the asset management business.

"By putting these investment professionals into a separately run organization and focusing research and resources on individuals, and not on pension funds or 401(k) money, we think the added expertise adds value," Mr. Adelman said in a telephone interview.

Eventually, he said, the unit's clients will be able to invest in areas- such as hedge funds, international companies, stressed companies, and small-cap and micro-cap stocks-that are not currently part of First Union's investment expertise.

First Union executives have publicly stated their strong commitment to the investment management business. The bank has been expanding its retail mutual fund complex by buying mutual fund assets and hiring a team of respected portfolio managers.

Mr. Adelman's unit will focus squarely on serving high-net-worth people.

"Our sole purpose is to provide investment managers to the individual, and as a result are able to structure an investment philosophy process and products to provide the best after-tax investment results to investors," said Mr. Adelman. The unit's investment managers are trained to keep their clients' tax concerns in mind, he added.

Mr. Adelman was most recently president and chief executive officer of Analytic TSA Global Asset Management, a Los Angeles institutional money manager.

Before that, he spent six years-beginning in 1988-at First Interstate Bank of California, where he was chief investment officer. During his stint there, assets under management grew from $600 million to $10.4 billion. He began his investment career at Crocker National Bank in San Francisco.

Mr. Adelman reports to Richard Wagoner, chief investment officer and executive vice president in First Union's capital management group.

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