Federated Investors said this week that it is managing $362 million of new high-yield assets in a collateralized bond obligation.

It was the Pittsburgh company's first foray into this area. Collateralized bond obligations are bonds backed by a pool of non- investment-grade debt. The bonds are divided into tiers according to risk.

About two dozen institutional investors hold stakes in a collateralized bond obligation pool. Federated itself invested $11 million in the notes issued by the collateralized bond obligation.

It is fairly unusual for a company like Federated, primarily known as a mutual fund company, to manage the assets in a collateralized bond obligation.

If this project succeeds, Federated may try to do more business in the field, said J.T. Tuscan, a spokesman.

"It's the first one we've done," he said. "We'll take a look at it and see how it works."

The transaction was underwritten by Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter & Co.

Federated is not new to the junk bond world; it manages nearly $6 billion of high-yield assets. The company manages $115 billion in all, in mutual funds and separate accounts.

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