Columbia Management Expects Massive Layoffs

Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Columbia Management mutual fund unit will likely see widespread layoffs and departures from its fixed-income division once its acquisition by Ameriprise Financial closes, according to a source familiar with the group.

The deal is expected to close within 30 days, and layoffs and departures are expected to intensify once the transition is completed, likely by September. Ameriprise's fixed-income group is at least twice the size of Columbia's existing group, the source said.

Minneapolis-based financial services firm Ameriprise agreed to acquire Columbia Management from BoA last September for approximately $1 billion in cash. The firm said at the time that it expected to generate between $130 million and $150 million in annual net synergies, with about half of those savings to be realized in the first year and substantially all in the second year.

The deal will bring Ameriprise's global assets under management to almost $400 billion. When the acquisition was announced, Boston-based Columbia had approximately $72 billion in fixed-income assets and $93 billion in equity assets under management.

Ameriprise and Columbia representatives were not immediately available for comment.

SEC Names Griffin First Chief Compliance Officer

The Securities and Exchange Commission has named Kathleen Griffin as the agency's first chief compliance officer in an ongoing effort to strengthen its internal compliance program. Griffin will lead the new, consolidated compliance unit within the SEC's Office of Ethics Counsel and be charged with streamlining and centralizing oversight responsibilities for employee securities transactions and financial disclosure reporting.

Prior to joining the SEC, Griffin worked at Putnam Investments as vice president, senior compliance manager and deputy code of ethics officer. She also served in senior roles at Atlantic Trust Co. and State Street Global Advisors.

SEC Names Keyes COO For N.Y. Regional Office

Robert J. Keyes has been named associate regional director and chief of regional office operations for the Securities and Exchange Commission's New York office. In the newly created position, the SEC said that Keyes will assist the regional director and other regional senior officers in managing the office's enforcement and examination caseload.

As chief operations officer, he will also oversee various operational aspects of the New York office, including budgeting, case closings, collections and distributions, and handling of the many tips, complaints and referrals the office receives each year. Additionally, Keyes will supervise the assistant regional directors for the office's enforcement accountants and enforcement investigators.

Brown Brothers Names Sovine Trust President

Brown Brothers Harriman has promoted Brett D. Sovine to president and chief executive officer of its trust company. Sovine was a managing director for Brown Brothers and will continue in current client relationships as well as oversee the national trust company and regional trust heads. He will continue to be based in Charlotte.

Sovine, a North Carolina certified public accountant, has worked as the regional head of Brown Brothers's southwest division since 2002. Before that, he worked for Poyner & Spruill LLP, specializing in tax and estate planning.

The company also hired Kerri Mast as a vice president and wealth planner in the Charlotte office. She will report to Sovine and be responsible for providing trust and estate planning services to BBH Wealth Management clients in the region. Mast was previously VP of planned giving for Foundations For The Carolinas.

(c) Copyright 2010 Money Management Executive and SourceMedia Inc. All rights reserved.

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