When Bruce R. Laning took over Firstar Corp.'s investment management arm in February, the Milwaukee banking company was at a crossroads.

The departure of Mr. Laning's predecessor and four fixed-income managers had prompted the city of Milwaukee to pull its $298 million bond account from Firstar in February and forced Mr. Laning to rebuild the company's investment business and merge its three fund families. "At the beginning of this year we had quite a period of adjustment here. People came and people left, and it was important to keep things steady," Mr. Laning said. "We did what we could to put the best combination of people and funds together."

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