NYLife Distributors, the mutual fund sales business of New York Life Insurance Co., has named a new national sales manager for its western region.

David Gardner, 36, oversees all sales and marketing activities for brokerages and banks in Illinois, Wisconsin, and all states west of the Mississippi River.

Banks account for a small fraction of sales of NYLife's mutual fund family, the Mainstay Funds. A spokesman declined to name any of the banks in Mr. Gardner's territory.

Mr. Gardner joined Mainstay from New York-based Seligman Financial Services, where he had been a regional sales vice president.

He is filling a post that opened up when Mainstay appointed Mark Strazzeri to a newly created job, liaison to the retirement plan consultant marketplace.

Mainstay had $2.8 billion of sales last year, down from $3.1 billion in 1997.

The spokesman said bank sales figures were not available. The Mainstay family of 33 funds had $18 billion of assets under management as of March 31.

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