BankAmerica May Sell Mutual Fund Unit

Bloomberg News

BankAmerica Corp. put its Robertson Stephens Investment Management mutual funds unit up for sale less than a week after agreeing to sell its investment banking unit, people familiar with the situation said. BankAmerica hired Putnam, Lovell, de Guardiola & Thornton Inc. to help find a buyer for the Robertson Stephens money-management business, they said. Robertson Stephens Investment Management has 12 mutual funds with more than $5.6 billion of assets. Some of the company's funds, including the Robertson Stephens Contrarian Fund, are reporting lagging performance and losing clients as a result. Robertson Stephens' funds suffered net outflows totaling about $280 million this year, with the Robertson Stephens Contrarian and the Robertson Stephens Value and Growth funds reporting the biggest outflows, according to Financial Research Corp., a research firm. BankAmerica's decision to sell Robertson Stephens Investment Management comes after the San Francisco-based bank agreed to sell its securities unit, Robertson Stephens, to BankBoston Corp. for about $800 million. Robertson Stephens' money-management group wasn't part of that agreement. BankAmerica is selling off parts of its business following the bank's agreement in April to merge with NationsBank Corp. Robertson Stephens Investment Management has been owned by BankAmerica since last October. BankAmerica officials declined to comment.

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