Citi Consumer Unit Gets Investments Head

NEW YORK - Citigroup Inc. has hired Kenneth Dowd from SG Cowen Securities Corp. as director of investments for its global consumer group.In the newly created position, Mr. Dowd will look at how Citigroup and its Salomon Smith Barney unit market investment products and make recommendations to boost sales and expand the offerings.

The post "reflects our recognition that we have tremendous distribution in the U.S. and need to develop the same distribution channels overseas," a spokeswoman said.

Mr. Dowd had been a managing director and head of asset management at SG Cowen of New York.

-Karen Talley


Exec: Fidelity Won't Seek Financial Powers

WASHINGTON - Fidelity Management and Research Co. will not seek financial holding company status under the recently enacted financial modernization bill, according to a report.FMR, the parent of Fidelity Investments, the nation's biggest fund company, has had a thrift charter since last year, which allows the company to offer trust services. Becoming a financial holding company would allow the Boston-based company to offer a wider range of retail banking products, including federally insured certificates of deposit.

However, according to a Bridge News report, Eric Roiter, a senior vice president and general counsel at FMR, told a financial services modernization conference here that FMR did not want to meet the capital requirements imposed by becoming a financial holding company. An FMR spokesman was not able to provide elaboration by presstime.


Bank of Montreal Has Deal for a Fla. Bank

TORONTO - Canada's Bank of Montreal has agreed to buy Florida's Village Bank of Naples for nearly $14 million, extending its U.S. banking franchise a notch further.A Bank of Montreal spokesman said the company will pay cash for the Florida bank and will integrate Village Bank into the bank's Chicago-based U.S. unit, Harris Bankcorp Inc.

Harris already has branches in West Palm Beach, Sarasota, and Vero Beach, 140 offices across the Midwest, and five branches in Arizona.

Privately held Village Bank opened in 1997, has approximately $80 million of assets, and has one branch in Naples and Ft. Myers each. The Florida bank has around 2,400 customers and is mainly geared to the upscale retail banking market.

Bank of Montreal officials said in a release Thursday that they plan to use the acquisition to boost wealth management. The bank has been tightening its strategy since it failed to get regulatory approval to merge with Royal Bank of Canada last year and is now focusing on expanding its U.S. unit and Internet-based banking, increasing wealth management and investment banking, and intensifying cost, capital, and risk management.

-James R. Kraus


Webster of Conn. Buys Insurance Agency

WATERBURY, Conn. - Webster Financial Corp. said Thursday that it bought Levine Cos., a privately held Connecticut insurance agency.Terms of the deal for the agency, which is based in both Waterford and Norwich, were not disclosed. Levine wrote $41 million of premiums in 1999, said John Queirolo, president and chief executive officer of Webster Insurance.

Levine is Webster's second agency acquisition. In 1998 the $11 billion-asset thrift company acquired Damman Insurance Associates, which enabled Webster write $85 million of premiums last year, Mr. Queirolo said. Both Damman and Levine are to set to be merged into Webster Insurance - Damman in the third quarter, and Levine sometime after, he said.

Levine adds 17 dedicated salespeople for a total of 41 insurance brokers. Most of the agency's 50 employees will be retained, Mr. Queirolo said.

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