Fund Manager Sold, Goldman Moves Key Men

As expected, ING had rid itself of Baring Asset Management (BAM). The business will be split and sold to two buyers for a combined price of around $326m.

ING is to focus on core businesses and has flogged BAM, which has assets under management of around $34bn, for what many regard as a decent price. US-based Mass Mutual Financial will acquire BAM's investment management business and Northern Trust will take on the fund administration unit. 600 staff will transfer to Mass Mutual, with 770 off to Northern Trust.

ING acquired the BAM business, almost as an aside, in 1995 after rogue trader Nick Leeson bust Barings and the Dutch firm rode to the rescue. ING paid £1 for the whole lot and injected an additional £835m to keep the Baring investment banking unit going. The BAM sale should be completed before the end of Q1 2005.

Finally, Goldman Sachs has confirmed that it is to move around a couple of senior executives. Richard Gnodde, the firm's top man in Asia, is to return to London to become vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International. He leaves Asia after 8 years and will be well pleased with the job he has done there. Goldman is riding high in the region. Gnodde will be replaced by Michael Evans, Goldman's co-head of global equities, and a BSD (Big Swinging D..k). Evans' move just underlines how important Goldman now views this region.

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