Paladin Investment Associates will close after its existing clients decide whether to follow Paladins small-cap and midcap growth equity team to Fifth Third Bank Investment Advisors. Fifth Third Investment hired all of the Minneapolis-based staff of Paladin, but did not acquire the firm, said E. Keith Wirtz, Paladins president and CIO. Mr. Wirtz was named CIO of Fifth Third Investment, replacing James Berghausen, who retired in June 2002, said Stacie Haas, Fifth Third spokeswoman.
To date, about half of Paladins clients have agreed to move to Fifth Third. Paladin managed $500 million at the time of a 2000 management buyout from Lloyds TSB and $256 million as of Dec. 31, of which $248 million was for U.S. institutional clients. Mr. Wirtz said $100 million of the decline came from the closure of offshore mutual funds that Paladin subadvised for its former parent; the rest was because of market depreciation.