defection-plagued asset management group. The bank has named Philip D. Tasho chief executive officer and Clifford W. Dyhouse managing director of Riggs Investment Management Corp., Washington, D.C. The pair left Riggs for Shawmut Investment Advisers, Boston, in 1994. An analyst praised the move as a much-needed step in rebuilding Rimco, as the investment management is known, one of Riggs' crown jewels. "It's sort of like a little prize there," said Merrill H. Ross, equity analyst at Wheat, First Securities Inc., Richmond, Va. "The size of assets under management are unusual to find at a bank the size of Riggs." Rimco currently manages about $2.5 billion in assets, a company spokesman said. The unit serves as investment adviser to five proprietary mutual funds and also manages a portion of the bank's trust assets. Riggs National Corp. has $4.7 billion in assets. The bank's appointment of the two executives reverses the outflow of talent from Rimco and begins its reconstruction. Former colleagues and current competitors praised Mr. Tasho. "He's quite bright and has a very good track record; they're very fortunate to get him back," said George W. Grosz, former chief of Rimco and current president of Meridian Asset Management, a unit of Meridian Bancorp, Reading, Pa. "He's an outstanding individual, and I wish him luck," said Robert A. von Pentz, the last Rimco chief executive to leave. In September, Mr. von Pentz defected from Rimco, taking eight staff members with him. He formed Columbia Partners with Terence W. Collins and Closson Vaughan, formerly of ASB Capital Management, a unit of NationsBank Corp., Charlotte, N.C. "The loss of von Pentz was serious but not insurmountable," Mr. Grosz said. And Mr. Tasho's previous role in constructing Rimco's equity operation will speed the rebuilding process, he added. Some observers questioned whether the bank can attract the additional investment management talent it needs as long as it remains a rumored takeover target. But Wheat First's Ms. Ross disagreed. "If Riggs is going to make a commitment by hiring the key guy, then I think the rest of it can fall in place." Besides, she said, Riggs chairman Joe L. Albritton continues to hold almost a third of the company's stock and shows no signs of putting the bank on the block. "No matter who's looking at them, I don't think they're for sale."
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