AmSouth, a Birmingham, Ala.-based regional bank with operations across the southeast, is selling its family of 23 mutual funds, with $5.5 billion of assets under management, to Pioneer Investment Management.

AmSouth is the second band to exit the mutual fund industry in the past week, following Citigroup's announcement last Thursday it is transferring its global money management division to Legg Mason. That $3.4 billion deal now makes Legg Mason the fifth-largest money manager and mutual fund operator in the U.S., with a total of $830 billion in assets under management.

At AmSouth, management decided to unload its mutual funds to achieve greater returns in institutional and individual money management, AmSouth's major focus.

"Because it has become more difficult and expansive for small mutual fund families to compete effectively, we have decided to focus on the key services that have distinguished our asset management business for the past 80 years," said AmSouth Chairman, President & CEO Dowd Ritter, in a statement.

AmSouth expects a pretax gain in of $50 million in the next fiscal year as the result of the deal.

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