BOSTON - FleetBoston Financial Group has created a new asset management group and has hired a J.P. Morgan & Co. executive to run it.

Keith T. Banks joined the Boston banking company as chief executive officer and chief investment officer of Fleet Asset Management, which will include Fleet Investment Advisors, Columbia Management Co., and the Galaxy mutual funds, as well as Fleet's institutional sales unit and its retirement plan services operations.

The move is part of an effort by the company to better coordinate its brokerage, asset management, and market-making activities. These businesses are also slated for expansion.

Last week Fleet announced plans to buy the New York Stock Exchange specialist firm M.J. Meehan & Co.

Mr. Banks was most recently managing director and head of U.S. equities in J.P. Morgan's investment management division. He joined that company in 1984 and held various positions, including equity research analyst, portfolio manager, and global head of research.

Fleet said Mr. Banks will open an office for Fleet Asset Management in New York and maintain the Boston headquarters for the business.

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