Jeffrey Maillet, the bank loan fund manager who controlled more than $13 billion for Van Kampen Investments Inc. of Chicago, has jumped to hometown rival John Nuveen & Co.

Nuveen said it plans to launch a prime-rate fund and a senior floating- rate fund within two to three months, seeking to cash in on the increasing popularity of bank loan participation funds.

Mr. Maillet joined the company Monday, having left Van Kampen last month. He reports to Nuveen's chief executive officer, Tim Schwertfeger.

Such funds, which provide higher interest rates than money market funds but are touted as less risky than junk bond funds, are particularly popular with people who invest through bank brokerages.

"This will be a big boost to our fund sales in all our major banks," said Michael Forstl, head of bank sales for Nuveen.

Industry watchers said Mr. Maillet's departure could prove a speed bump for Van Kampen, where he ran five funds.

Two of those funds, the $8.3 billion-asset Prime Rate Income Trust and the $1.3 billion-asset Senior Floating Rate Fund, have accounted for 62% of Van Kampen's net sales this year, according to Financial Research Corp. of Boston.

The head of the retail brokerage at one large bank said Monday that the bank is holding off on plans to offer a Van Kampen bank loan fund because of Mr. Maillet's departure.

At Van Kampen, Dennis J. McDonnell, president and chief operating officer of investment advisers, will take up Mr. Maillet's old duties.

Bank loan participation funds have grown popular as short-term investors have sought to beat the low interest rates of money market mutual funds.

The funds typically invest in bank loans whose interest rates are set from 200 to 300 basis points over a benchmark such as the London interbank offered rate.

A decade ago there was one bank loan fund, with $480 million of assets, run by Pilgrim Capital. Five years ago there were five, with $3.6 billion. Today there are 15, with $28 billion of assets, according to Lipper Inc. Several more such funds are said to be in the works.

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