American Skandia Shuts 2 Funds to New Money

American Skandia of Shelton, Conn., announced the closing of two portfolios to new investors.The AST Janus Small-Cap Growth Portfolio, an investment option in variable annuities offered by Skandia, was closed with about $1.4 billion of assets under management. The ASAF Janus Small-Cap Growth Fund, a retail mutual fund, was closed with roughly $500 million of assets.

The funds were both closed Jan. 19 and are managed by Janus Capital Corp. of Denver.

Timothy S. Cronin, Skandia's director of investments and research, said his company is in discussions with four or five portfolio managers to replace the closed funds with another small-cap portfolio on May 1. Skandia has more than $34 billion of assets under management.

Northwestern Life Picks Chairman and President

The board of trustees of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. named James D. Ericson chairman and Edward J. Zore president.The two men will assume their new responsibilities March 31. Mr. Ericson, Northwestern's president and chief executive officer, will remain CEO. Now 64, he plans to retire in midsummer 2001.

Mr. Zore, 54, is executive vice president of life and disability income insurance.

Northwestern is the largest provider of life insurance in the United States, with more than $585 billion of individual life insurance in force.

Deep-Discount Broker Opens Planning Unit

National Discount Brokers Corp., the deep-discount securities brokerage, has established a unit to handle strategic planning and business development.The new group is to look for business opportunities and strategic relationships, develop technology applications, and develop products and services for the mostly on-line brokerage.

Samir M. Shah and Gregg Sharenow, who had been co-chief operating officers of the company, took over as heads of the group on Thursday. They report to president and chief executive officer Chris McQuilkin.

Mr. Shah said the group, which has existed unofficially for a few weeks, was already working on a handful of joint ventures and eight or nine product deals, though he declined to give details. The firm is also in discussions with "the top 10 banks in the world," with an eye toward establishing an international presence, he said.

As of Nov. 30, New York-based National Discount Brokers had 178,400 customer accounts, with $8.9 billion of assets. It is a subsidiary of National Discount Brokers Group Inc. of Jersey City.

- Compiled by Amy L. Anderson

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