A year after creating a dedicated transition management group, Fidelity Capital Markets, has appointed Kevin Byrne to lead the growing practice.

The firm is the institutional trading arm of Fidelity Investments, which is based in Boston. The transition management group helps institutional clients, such as pension funds, insurance companies and 401(k) plans reduce the costs associated with moving assets from one entity to another.

Byrne steps into the role as business in the group is booming. Fidelity started running transitions for clients in 2008, and by the end of 2009, had done about $1.9 billion in its first year. Year to date, the group has handled close to $12 billion in transitions, according to John Eidson, a spokesman for Fidelity Investments. Byrne will oversee the group’s daily operations, which includes handling renewed demand for more asset transitions. The transactions had backed off a bit during the financial market downturn, because asset managers did not have the resources to focus on transitions as before.

“They were focusing on asset allocation,” Eidson said. “They had to sideline transitions until they were ready to focus on that again.” 

Asset transfers happen under several different circumstances—such as when retirement plan sponsors change plan managers, or when they set up a separate transition account. Normally, assets being transferred come from a defined contribution plan, but they can originate from institutional clients, too.

As for Byrne, he has been in the asset transition industry for more than 12 years, specializing in portfolio trading, transaction cost analysis, and equity and fixed-income derivatives. Previously, he was head of New York City-based U.S. Transition Management Group at ConvergEx Group, a division of Bank of New York Mellon’s institutional brokerage business.