Nuveen Investments has hired Michael McGrath as managing director in the company's newly formed International and Alternative Investment Products Development Group, the company announced.

With the addition of McGrath, the new unit, which was formed a couple of months ago, now has five people.

McGrath will report to senior VP Alan Berkshire, who heads the new unit.

The increasing popularity of alternative investments among wealthy investors prompted the formation of the business unit, according to a spokeswoman. "Nuveen target markets advisors who serve high-net-worth clients and more and more of them have been asking us about alternative products," she said. Those products include separately managed accounts, exchange-traded funds and unit investment trusts.

The creation of the new unit is not the first action the company has taken to expand its alternative investment business. In June, Nuveen announced that it would purchase San Francisco-based Symphony Asset Mgt., an institutional money manager of market-neutral and alternative investments. The $210 million deal was completed July 17.

Before joining Nuveen, McGrath was managing director with Gruntal & Co., a regional brokerage based in New York. There, he worked on research, product development and marketing for a variety of financial products in the U.S. and Europe. McGrath was unavailable for comment.

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