James H. Overholt, the former president of Great Western Financial Corp.'s brokerage unit, has joined an international consulting firm, where he will advise banks, insurance companies, and mutual fund companies as the head of a newly created unit.

Mr. Overholt joined Milliman & Robertson in Chicago in January, as did Julianne M. Fries, who was director of risk management at Great Western Financial Securities Corp.

The 51-year-old company is moving to diversify beyond insurance consulting and actuarial services into the entire financial services industry. Its aim includes helping clients shape new product and distribution strategies, Mr. Overholt said.

Mr. Overholt's unit has six employees who are focused on banks, insurance companies, and mutual fund companies, and should have about 12 within two years, Mr. Overholt said.

Before joining Great Western in 1996, Mr. Overholt was chief executive of Bank South Investment Services for three years, and before that he was chief executive of Wachovia Brokerage Services.

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