Royal of Canada Buys Ernst & Young Unit

Royal Bank of Canada has acquired Ernst & Young Trust Co. (Jersey) Ltd. in the Channel Islands.Terms of the deal, which closed Monday, were not disclosed.

The acquisition brings the Toronto-based company about 4,000 trust clients and about $9.7 billion of assets under administration. Royal Bank gains 17 Ernst & Young partners with experience in international trust, taxation, and wealth management.

"We see the Ernst & Young deal as central to our growth strategy," said Michael Lagopoulos, head of global private banking. "In the wealth management business, everything starts with tax planning or estate planning. Having the Ernst & Young platform will help us get in at the front end of these wealth management strategies."

Acquiring high-level employees with tax expertise will enable Royal Bank to expand its services to private banking clients, Mr. Lagopoulos said. And Royal Bank will have 4,000 new high-net-worth clients to whom it can offer other banking services.

Royal Bank's global private banking unit had about $68 billion of assets under management on Oct. 31.

- Amy L. Anderson

Chase Cuts 32 Broker Positions in Northeast

Chase Manhattan Corp. has laid off 32 of the brokers who sold investment products in its Northeast branches.The move, made last week, was the first time Chase has cut back the program and was meant to "streamline the salesforce," a spokeswoman said. The New York company now has about 150 brokers selling investment products to retail customers in its 450 branches in the Northeast, the spokeswoman said.

- Karen Talley

Nationwide Sets Up Unit Just for Bank One

Nationwide Financial has created a division to focus on servicing the proprietary annuity program of Bank One Corp.The move was in response to sales volume for the One Investor Annuity, which has more than $1 billion of assets under management, said Matthew Riebel, president of Nationwide Financial Institutions Distributors Agency of Columbus, Ohio.

The unit will handle customer service, marketing, legal matters, compliance, and wholesaler support, Mr. Riebel said.

- Karen Talley

Bisys Group Names Head of Plan Services

Bisys Group Inc. of Little Falls, N.J., has hired Christopher M. Guarino as president of its plan services division.Mr. Guarino, 35, was previously chief operating officer of Trustar Retirement Services, a third-party record-keeping provider based in Wilmington, Del. He succeeds Al Shemtob, who left Bisys in June, a spokeswoman said.

Bisys provides retirement plan services to about 7,000 companies in partnership with 30 bank and investment management companies.

- Amy L. Anderson

Amex Names Top-Down Investing Chief

American Express Asset Management Group of Minneapolis has hired Daniel J. Rivera to lead the team that manages its top-down, large-cap U.S. equity portfolios.Top-down investing involves looking at trends in the general economy and then selecting companies likely to benefit from those trends. Mr. Rivera is overseeing a group that managed $6.4 billion of assets as of Dec. 31. He succeeds Peter J. Anderson, chief investment officer of American Express Financial Advisors, who had led the team on an interim basis after a management restructuring in mid-1999.

Mr. Rivera previously had led domestic equity operations at Branch Banking and Trust Co., a subsidiary of BB&T Corp. of Winston-Salem, N.C.

American Express Asset Management, a subsidiary of American Express Financial Group, has more than $57 billion of assets under management.

- Amy L. Anderson

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