N.Y. Banking Company To Buy Asset Manager

Community Bank System Inc. of DeWitt, N.Y., has agreed to buy Elias Asset Management Inc.Terms of the deal, which is expected to close within 90 days, were not disclosed.

Elias, which has $700 million of assets under management, would continue to operate as an independent subsidiary from its headquarters in Williamsville, N.Y.

"This deepens and formalizes a long-standing relationship," said Sanford A. Belden, president and chief executive officer of the $1.8 billion-asset banking company. "We'll be even more proficient at providing a full array of products and services," he added.

Community Bank System - which owns a pension plan consulting firm, an insurance agency, and a broker-dealer - has no asset management capabilities, Mr. Belden said.

Since 1986, Elias has managed accounts in Community Bank's trust department and the bank has referred customers to it for investment advice, said Barbara V. Elias, a vice president of the asset management firm.

Ms. Elias said that Community Bank System's resources would help Elias to grow and that Elias has already added a portfolio analyst to its staff.

New E-Trade Venture: Korea Web Brokerage

E-Trade Group Inc. of Menlo Park, Calif., announced Monday that it will launch an on-line brokerage in South Korea.E-Trade Korea is a joint venture of E-Trade, Softbank Corp. - a Tokyo-based Internet bank - and LG Investment and Securities Co., a Korean brokerage and investment bank. E-Trade and Softbank launched an on-line trading site in Japan in October.

E-Trade Korea will offer Korean equities and mutual funds, as well as real-time quotes and market news.

The site would be E-Trade's seventh outside the United States. The company says E-Trade Korea will be the first on-line brokerage established in Korea by a U.S. firm.

U.K. Asset Firm to Buy U.S. Fixed-Income Unit

Pareto Partners, a London-based institutional investment management firm, has agreed to buy the fixed-income group of Forstmann-Leff International Inc. from Refco Group Ltd.The New York-based team of nine has $750 million of assets under management. Terms of the deal, which is slated to close at the end of February, were not disclosed. The acquisition would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2000.

The deal would add fixed-income expertise to Pareto, said chief executive officer Mitchell E. Harris, and would help the firm to expand its fixed-income product line to include a global opportunistic strategy for U.S. investors and a global credit strategy to be offered worldwide.

Pareto has $31 billion of assets under management. It is 30% owned by Pittsburgh-based Mellon Financial Corp.

- Amy L. Anderson

Liberty of Boston Adds 2 Fixed-Income Funds

Liberty Funds Distributor Inc., a unit of Liberty Financial Cos. of Boston, recently launched two fixed-income mutual funds.The Stein Roe Advisor Floating Rate Advantage Fund and Colonial Investment Grade Bond Fund are part of Liberty's "interval" series and are available with front-end, back-end, and level loads.

The Stein Roe Advisor Floating Rate Fund is also part of the series.

Liberty's interval funds are continuously offered, closed-end funds that allow multiple share classes to be bought on any business day but allow redemptions only once a quarter through a tender offer.

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