Confirming suspicions that banks and thrifts are looking to exit the mutual fund management business, Great Western Financial Corp. said Wednesday it is considering the sale of its proprietary mutual fund complex.

The Chatsworth, Calif.-based thrift said it has hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. to explore a sale of Sierra Capital Management, its mutual fund subsidiary which now has $3.4 billion under management. The move fueled speculation that banks have been largely disappointed with their forays into the mutual fund management business and are now looking for a quick way out.

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