Merrill Lynch & Co. has hired five investment professionals from Deutsche Asset Management to form Merrill Lynch Quantitative Advisors.

Joining the new unit on Tuesday were Frank Salerno, Anthony Conroy, Phil Green, Sid Hoots, and Rick Vella. The five had worked at the former Bankers Trust Corp., which was bought on June 4 by Deutsche Bank AG.

Since the acquisition, a number of employees of the former Bankers Trust have jumped ship. Last week, for example, four health-care investment bankers jumped to Credit Suisse First Boston.

Mr. Salerno, who headed the structured investment management team, has been succeeded by Kathy Condon who helped build Bankers Trust's index management business, a Deutsche Bank spokeswoman said. Other successors have not yet been named, she said.

Creating a quantitative advisers group is part of an effort by Merrill to boost its asset management capability.

"We were really looking to set this business up in a big way," a Merrill spokeswoman said. "We view it as a cornerstone of the asset management industry going into the next century."

Dean D'Onofrio, who ran Merrill's North American equity derivatives and convertible bond origination group, heads the new unit. He joined Merrill in 1997 from Bankers Trust, where he worked in the structured investment management group.

Though Merrill has limited index offerings, the firm has focused on active management.

"They've not been known as an index shop," said Raphael Soifer, a financial services analyst at Brown Brothers, Harriman & Co. "I think their current strategy is to offer the client a choice."

Merrill Lynch Asset Management managed nearly $515 billion of assets at the end of March, including more than $6 billion of quantitative and structured equity assets.

The Merrill spokeswoman said the company plans to offer dozens of products from a "plain-vanilla S&P 500 index fund to a very sophisticated quantitative product that might be used by an institutional or high-net- worth investor."

The simpler products should be available in a few weeks, she said, but the more complex ones probably will not be sold for several months.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.