Peter Torvik begins his new job at U.S. Bancorp's investment management arm describing himself as a "rational incrementalist" - an executive who will fine-tune rather than rebuild the Minneapolis-based asset manager's strategy.

He says he intends to ease what some say has become a strained relationship between the banking company's First American Funds unit, where he was just named an executive vice president, and its investment management unit, Piper Jaffray. And he intends to boost the performance of First American's funds - a must if growth goals are to be met.

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