Pioneer Veteran Patel to Manage Opportunity Fund

Pioneer Investment Management has rolled out a new equity opportunity fund and named company veteran Margaret Patel to manage it. The fund, called the Pioneer Equity Opportunity Fund, will pursue long-term capital growth with a secondary objective of income. It will focus mostly on small- and large-cap equities. Patel has worked in the investment management industry for more than 30 years. She will continue managing high-yield bond funds for Pioneer.

"What is particularly exciting about managing this fund is the flexibility allowed in regards to index weighting, market capitalization bands and style boxes," Patel said.

Kuenstner to Leave Putnam For Undisclosed Reasons

Putnam Investments' large-cap value team will be losing Deborah F. Kuenstner, its managing director and chief investment officer, by the end of the year.

Kuenstner, who also serves as chief investment officer of Putnam's international value team and a portfolio manager for the Putnam Classic Equity Fund, will be replaced by large-cap equities CIO Josh Brooks on the value team. Meanwhile, Michael Abata and Ronald J. Bukovac will assume her responsibilities overseeing the Putnam Classic Equity Fund as co-portfolio managers. The two were already members of the fund's investment team.

"Debby has been an excellent leader of the U.S. and global value equity teams, and within the entire investment division," said Putnam Head of Investments Steve Oristaglio.

Kuenstner, who also serves on Putnam's executive board, came to Putnam in 1997 and has more than 25 years of investment industry experience. She has no immediate new job plans.

Merrill Recruits O'Keeffe For Private Client Position

Michael O'Keeffe, who had spent 18 years in various positions at Wilshire Associates, has been named head of investment management and guidance in Merrill Lynch's global private client group. The new position puts O'Keeffe in charge of evaluating and selecting the third-party investment managers and mutual funds that Merrill Lynch advisers and brokers recommend to clients.

At Wilshire, O'Keeffe was most recently managing director of the company's fund management group.

Growth at Placemark Leads To Hiring of Three Veeps

Placemark Investments has hired three vice presidents in response to the "rapid growth" it has experienced, the company announced.

Placemark has tapped John Ehinger, Lisa Harrington and Joseph Rinaldi. Ehinger, an attorney by trade, will serve as Placemark's chief compliance officer and general counsel. His prior work experience includes serving as a staff attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Harrington will become Placemark's vice president of institutional business development, where she will assist President Randy Bullard in developing business for the company. She has worked at the Tokyo offices of both Citigroup and John Hancock.

Rinaldi, who has worked as a portfolio manager for Parametric Portfolio Associates and an engineer in the U.S. Army, is Placemark's new vice president of investment operations, which will entail managing the company's proprietary overlay portfolio.

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