ST. LOUIS - The group of fixed-income managers that recently left Boatmen's Trust Co. officially set up their new fixed-income shop, Rockwood Capital Advisers.
Frank J. Aten, a former Boatmen's fixed-income assistant chief investment officer, is the managing director and chief investment officer for the new firm, which will manage domestic fixed-income portfolios for institutional clients using a top-down active duration management strategy.
The firm received its registration approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission in early April, which allowed it to solicit clients and consultants outside Missouri. Mr. Aten said he expects to complete the state registration process by the end of the month, allowing the firm to market in its home state.
Mr. Aten is being joined at Rockwood by Paul D. Rapponotti, Daniel W. Lane, Scott P. Leiberton and David Brooks, portfolio managers; D. Andrew Holtgrieve, portfolio manager and client service manager; and Anthony K. Brown, marketing manager.
The firm also recruited M. Steve Yoakum, former executive director of the Public School Retirement System of Missouri, as managing director and chief operating officer.
Sources said the managers were dismissed in March by NationsBank Corp. after their intention to start Rockwood became known. According to observers, the fixed-income team had been concerned about NationsBank's recent acquisition of Boatmen's and their place in the merged company.
"Just looking at what's going on at NationsBank - without getting into any details - we felt that now is a good time to do what we're doing," said Mr. Aten. He would not comment further.
Earlier this year, NationsBank announced a reorganization of its asset management operations in which Boatmen's equity and cash management assets would be transferred to NationsBank's subsidiary TradeStreet Investment Associates Inc., and the bond assets placed into a new fixed-income unit named Boatmen's Capital and headed by Landers Carnal, CIO for fixed income at Boatmen's Trust.
NationsBank officials said the establishment of Boatmen's Capital will continue and Boatmen's is replacing the departing group. Their responsibilities are being assumed by four other portfolio managers remaining in the group, and investment professionals are being promoted internally to complement the team (Pensions & Investments, March 31).
Rockwood will offer mainly separate account portfolios and may develop some pooled vehicles as necessary, said Mr. Aten. It will concentrate on tax-exempt institutions as clients; Mr. Aten said he hopes to use his track record at Boatmen's, thanks to recent decisions by the SEC that made those records more portable.
"We think we can do a good job managing fixed-income assets for our clients," said Mr. Aten. He noted that the recent moves in interest rates and the bond markets were not unexpected to his team, which had been predicting the same thing for the last six months.
"What's happening is what we said would happen," he said.