Several points in your March 3 article "NationsBank seeks new owner of ASB" were incorrect. Many of the more pessimistic evaluations of the impending sale of the Washington-based ASB Capital Management Inc. were supported with factual errors.
I would like to clarify three major points in the article.
First, the statement that "ASB lost about half its $11 billion-plus in assets since Columbia was formed." is incorrect.
ASB Capital Management Inc. had about $9.6 billion under management at that time.
The decline in assets was due to clients seeking to diversify and began before Columbia Partners was ever formed. (Columbia Partners was formed in September 1995 by several top officials of ASB).
Second, ASB Capital Management has not, in fact, been "damaged by a series of client defections."
ASB has retained an overwhelming majority of its clients, approximately 90%, since September 1995.
Third, the quote from John Munce that "ASB Capital no longer fits with NationsBank's overall strategy for its investment management business" is a misstatement. "ASB does not fit," reinforces an image that is incorrect.
The sale of ASB is a business decision not to have two similar multiproduct capital management companies under the management of NationsBank.
ASB Capital Management remains a strong player in the mid-Atlantic region: over the past 11/2 years, the company has made innovative changes, added senior management and promoted its seasoned players.
Moreover, ASB Capital Management has retained its client base and more than $5 billion of assets under management, making it by far the largest capital management company in Washington.
ASB Capital Management Inc.