The investment chief at Boston Advisors Inc. said he didn't mean to steal two lead portfolio managers from BankBoston's institutional asset management unit.
"We were just looking for a short-term fixed-income product manager for our parent company," said Michael Vogelzang, chief investment officer at Boston Advisors.
What he got was a new line of business.
The Boston-based firm manages about $175 million in high-net-worth private assets; it is owned by the brokerage firm Advest Group. Inc.
Mr. Vogelzang said Advest wanted to put additional money raised from private placements and other such transactions into short-term investments -- and where better than at its own subsidiary?
Mr. Vogelzang began to scout around for the right manager and located Todd Finkelstein at BankBoston. Mr. Finkelstein was fixed-income portfolio manager of about $250 million in public employee retirement assets.
Not only was Mr. Finkelstein interested, but he mentioned the offer to fellow BankBoston portfolio manager Lawrence Kimball, who handled equity investments for the retirement accounts.
Both men expressed interest, so in mid-August, Boston Advisors hired the pair and launched a new business -- the management of tax-exempt institutional accounts of equity and fixed-income investments.
Mr. Finkelstein also is managing the short-term accounts, which Boston Advisors hopes to grow to $200 million in the next couple of years.
"My charge at Boston Advisors is to grow the firm," Mr. Vogelzang said. "And this is one way to do that."
BankBoston spokeswoman Karen Schwartzman said there has been no decision yet about whether to replace the managers or distribute their portfolios to other BankBoston managers.
Boston Advisors and BankBoston have offices on different floors in the same building.