The Crabbe Huson Group spun off Pacific Northwest Trust to a group of Pacific Northwest employees led by John Wheeler, who will be chief executive of the firm.
Terms of the deal between the Portland, Ore.-based companies were not disclosed.
Pacific Northwest has $3.1 billion in pension and profit-sharing assets, with about $700 million of that discretionary money, managed mostly by Crabbe Huson. Crabbe Huson will continue to manage that money, but the deal will free up Pacific Northwest to pursue relationships with other managers, Mr. Wheeler said.
Richard Huson, chief investment officer and principal for Crabbe Huson, said "one of the objectives is to streamline the company." The firm will be better able to focus on money management following the spinoff, he said. Pacific Northwest can build its business more easily as an independent trust company, he said.
The spinoff is not a prelude to a sale of the firm by Mr. Huson and co-owner James E. Crabbe. Mr. Huson said a distribution deal with Prudential Insurance Co. of America, Newark, N.J., for Crabbe Huson's mutual funds recently was canceled, and the firm's principals want to concentrate on money management for a while after dealing with that.
As the defined contribution market has changed, being closely affiliated with a money manager no longer is an advantage in running the business, said Rick J. Miegs, Pacific Northwest's chief operations officer. DC plans are moving away from having a single investment firm manage all plan options, making a money manager affiliation less attractive, he said.
Pacific Northwest now is owned by eight or nine of its 50 employees, Mr. Miegs said. Messrs. Huson and Crabbe will personally own a portion of the company for about two years, when they will get completely out, he said.