J.P. Morgan & Co. of New York has named Ronald R. Dewhurst head of institutional investment management services in the Americas, effective Feb. 2.

In the newly created position, Mr. Dewhurst, 48, will oversee the day-to-day operations of J.P. Morgan's institutional investment management business - which comprises investment strategy, client relations, and products such as retirement plan services and mutual funds - in the United States, Canada, and South America.

J.P. Morgan had $179 billion of institutional assets under management in the Americas on Sept. 30, the latest figure available.

Mr. Dewhurst will report to Ramon de Oliviera, the New York-based chairman of J.P. Morgan's asset management business.

The purpose of the new position is to give Mr. de Oliviera "more time to focus on strategic objectives," with a particular focus on private banking, a spokeswoman said. The appointment of a regional head for the Americas mirrors J.P. Morgan's management structure in Europe and Asia, she added.

The spokeswoman said that while Mr. Dewhurst's appointment reflects the importance the company places on institutional asset management, it does not signal an increased emphasis on that area.

Mr. Dewhurst is currently head of European cash equities for J.P. Morgan in London, overseeing sales, trading, and research. He will be succeeded by Tom Reagan, currently global co-head of equity derivatives for J.P. Morgan in London.

Observers said that they were not surprised to see someone from J.P. Morgan's trading operations assume an important role in investment management.

"This is consistent with previous moves to remake the investment management group with an eye towards expenses and competitive performance," said Carla A. D'Arista, an analyst at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey in Arlington, Va.

Mr. Oliviera, himself a former equity head at J.P. Morgan, has brought in "a number of people from the equity side and investment banking area," she said.

As of Sept. 30, J.P. Morgan had $322 billion of assets under management globally, including $249 billion of institutional assets.

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