Marketing One, a leading partner of banks in the mutual funds business, has undergone a rapid series of personnel shifts.

Gerald Kerns left abruptly this month as president of Marketing One Securities, the Portland company's broker-dealer.

Earlier, Sandy McIntosh, the broker-dealer's operations manager, and Michael Denton, a product manager in the marketing department, jumped to a small, cross-town rival.

And just last week, Marketing One dismissed its three-person market-research department, opting to contract out for those services.

|These Are Just Moves'

Taken together, the events have some industry observers wondering if Marketing One is experiencing troubles after a period of rapid growth.

But the company insists everything is fine. "These are just moves, not signs of a melt-down," said spokesman Michael Maher. In fact, he said, Marketing One is on track to post its most profitable year ever.

Still, the shifts are raising eyebrows.

Mr. Kerns was well regarded in the industry and his departure caught many by surprise. He could not be reached for comment and his future plans were not known.

Responsible for Operations

He spent eight years providing strategic direction for the broker-dealer and also had responsibilities for operations, said an executive at a rival marketing firm who asked not to be named.

Industry sources say that Mr. Kerns was forced out amid discussions of a management reorganization.

But Mr. Maher disagrees. Mr. Kerns, he says, left voluntarily to "pursue other opportunities."

Launched in 1985

In the meantime, Dennis Coupal, who oversees key relationships with banks, is acting president of the broker-dealer. James Truax, head of marketing, is doing the same for Mr. Kerns' former fund company clients.

Marketing One launched the broker-dealer in 1985, to process mutual fund trades as the company saw demand for funds picking up among bank customers.

Mr. Maher said none of the departures has affected the relationships that Marketing One has with its 80 client banks. Its top accounts include Wells Fargo & Co. and First Fidelity Bancorp.

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