Phoenix Investment Partners Ltd. is closing down the equity investment management operation at its Hartford headquarters and reassigning the group's business to three Phoenix affiliates.

Fifteen positions are being eliminated in the change, said Sharon Bray, a spokesperson for Phoenix. The company will continue to have fixed-income money managers in the Hartford headquarters, Bray said.

The Hartford office's equity managers ran approximately $8 billion in retail and institutional fund assets, variable annuities and separate accounts. Those assets now will be managed by Phoenix affiliates Roger Engemann & Associates of Pasadena, Calif., Seneca Capital Management of San Francisco, and Phoenix's Oakhurst Division in Scotts Valley, Calif. Fund shareholders and variable annuity owners must approve the changes in managers. Phoenix described the office closing in a preliminary proxy statement filed with the SEC June 11.

Phoenix cut the Hartford equity managers to reduce expenses and eliminate redundancies in the firm's operations, Bray said. The affiliates also have better long-term investment track records than the equity managers in Hartford, Phoenix said in the proxy statement.

Phoenix, with approximately $59 billion in assets under management, has eight investment management affiliates. In the past two years, Phoenix has acquired or taken a majority ownership stake in Engemann, Seneca Capital and in the open- and closed-end funds in the Zweig Fund Group of New York.

Phoenix also formed the Oakhurst Division after portfolio managers Steven Colton and Dong Hao Zhang joined Phoenix in June 1997. Phoenix will maintain its headquarters in Hartford, Bray said. Approximately 130 employees work at the site.

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