Nationwide Financial Services has formed an investment management business and tapped well-known mutual fund executive Paul Hondros to run it.

The new company, with $19 billion of assets under management, will be based in the Philadelphia area, where Mr. Hondros lives.

As yet unnamed, it will combine Nationwide Advisory Services and Morley Financial Services, an investment manager Nationwide bought in May.

Mr. Hondros helped transform Fidelity Investments, Boston, into a major mutual fund seller through banks and other intermediaries. He left Fidelity in 1997 to become president of Pilgrim Baxter & Associates, a subsidiary of United Asset Management, Boston. He left Pilgrim Baxter in the fall after a deal to sell it to Nationwide fell through.

Mr. Hondros' duties will include adding new funds, possibly acquiring investment management companies and expanding distribution, the company said. It is too early to say whether Nationwide's new unit will expand beyond its main distribution base of insurance agents, a company spokesman said.

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