Northern Trust Corp. is putting new muscle behind its investment operations outsourcing business to gain scale globally in the wake of the market meltdown.

"This has been a service that historically has been bought, not sold," said Dan Houlihan, hired in February as global head of product and strategy for the Chicago banking company's investment operations outsourcing unit. "Because of the evolution of the products and market dynamics, that's no longer the case, and we're being very proactive about trying to find the right partners."

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