Fleet Financial Group has hired a managing director to run its retirement services business, filling one of two vacancies atop its investment products unit.

Gary W. Anderson, 48, joined Fleet from American Express Financial Advisors, where he was corporate vice president in charge of strategic initiatives.

Mr. Anderson takes one of two managing director spots created after Michael J. Rothmeier left in May amid allegations that brokers he oversaw were overcharging customers. Mr. Rothmeier's post was divided in two in September. The other managing director will oversee Fleet's retail mutual fund business.

Mr. Anderson is running Fleet's $9 billion retirement services business, which includes $3.2 billion of 401(k) assets managed for about 1,300 plan sponsors. Fleet's retirement businesses include trust, custody, record keeping, enrollment, employee education, and investment management services. He reports to Gunnar Overstrom, vice chairman of Fleet Financial Group.

Before joining Fleet, Mr. Anderson had been responsible for strategic initiatives for a variety of business lines, including 401(k) and personal trust, at American Express Financial Advisors, formerly IDS Financial Services.

Geoffrey Bobroff, an East Greenwich, R.I.-based mutual fund consultant, said Mr. Anderson's experience at IDS, which had success at managing retirement plans for small to midsize businesses, bodes well for Fleet. Dividing the managing director's position in two is also a good strategy, Mr. Bobroff said.

Spreading an executive too thin by putting all investment businesses under one person's management is "a fundamental problem" banks all have to face, he said.

Mr. Anderson's experience included a stint as president and chief executive of American Express Trust Co. from 1992 to 1995. He directed the unit's $50 billion securities custody business and its 401(k) business from 1986 to 1992. Before that, he had sold and marketed 401(k) plans to Fortune 1000 companies.

Fleet has not yet hired an executive to run its retail mutual fund business.

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