After a nine month search, Zurich-Kemper Investments has hired a portfolio manager to oversee its flagship stock fund, Kemper Growth Fund.

The Chicago-based mutual fund company said Monday it named Patrick S. Adams, 35, to manage the $2.6 billion in assets in the fund. Mr. Adams was previously a portfolio manager at Founders Asset Management in Denver.

He replaces Beth Cotner, who departed last September while the parent company, then Kemper Corp., was caught in a rocky search for new ownership. Kemper was acquired by Zurich Insurance Group in January.

In the interim, the Kemper Growth Fund was managed by Steven Reynolds, who joined Kemper in September as chief investment officer of the equity department. Previously, Mr. Reynolds worked for Alliance Capital Management, a New York-based fund company. .

Under Mr. Reynolds' direction, the fund finished 1995 with above-average returns for the first time since 1991, according to Morningstar Inc., a Chicago-based company that tracks mutual fund performance.

Ms. Cotner is now managing the Putnam Investors Fund at Zurich-Kemper's Boston-based rival, Putnam Investments.

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