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Harrison Now Running Advantus Asset Division

Advantus Capital Management has names Randal Harrison vice president and director of the insurance advisory practice, which manages assets for insurance companies. He succeeds Marilyn Forelich, who has been in this position since 1998 and who is retiring. Harrison comes to Advantus from RBC Global Asset Management, where he was a managing director and senior fixed income portfolio management.

"The insurance advisory unit is growing and poised to achieve its next stage of development," said Advantus Executive Vice President David Kuplic. "Randy Harrison has the experience and expertise to lead that growth while remaining true to the values that have always guided our insurance advisory business."

Sweeping Round of Hires At Barclays Wealth

Barclays Wealth, a unit of U.K.-based Barclays plc, is at it again.

The firm that has been expanding its U.S. wealth management operations, albeit slowly and selectively as it aims to focus on the very high-end clients, announced a sweeping round of new hires Wednesday.

There were new advisers hired in the Southeast, teams recruited in New York, and a new regional manager appointed for Los Angeles.

The new advisers in the Southeast include Tom Pair and Forest Simmons in Atlanta. Pair was at UBS Financial Services previously, while Simmons joined from BNY Mellon Wealth Management.

Separately, two teams were hired in New York. Ron Willis and John-Paul Tomassetti joined from JPMorgan Chase Private Bank, where they worked in the Global Investment Opportunities Group advising ultra-high-net-worth investors. Meanwhile, Rene Joliot, Edgar Ramirez and Romel Rodriguez also joined in New York from UBS International.

All five of the new advisers in New York will report to Mark Stevenson, managing director and branch manager for the New York office.

Also, Barclays Wealth named Brian Sears as a managing director and regional manager for Los Angeles. Sears will be responsible for all aspects of the Los Angeles branch, and will report to Steve Houston, head of Wealth Management Americas.

Additionally, there were a handful of other new hires from earlier in the summer that the firm announced last week.

In the Miami office, Tony Esses was hired from HSBC Private Bank, where he has been for 24 years focusing mostly on Latin America. Robert Sperber and James Hafele were both recruited from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, and Matthew Burton joined in Palm Beach, from JPMorgan.

Meanwhile, John Nicholas had joined in Atlanta from Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management. And in the Philadelphia office, the company recruited Gerhard van Arkel and Brett Thomas Meyers from Wilmington Trust.

Barclays has been expanding its U.S. operations for the past year with a goal of carving out a niche of ultra rich clients.

Most recently, it hired two executives in New York: Donald Gershuny as a managing director and general counsel, Americas; and Peter Reynolds as a managing director and chief risk officer, Americas.

And a few days before that, it appointed David Lewis to a newly created position of managing director and head of banking, Americas. In that position, he will oversee the regional banking platform and lead the company's continued build-out of its regional banking products and services. And a few days earlier, it hired Stephen Head as managing director and regional manager for Texas. Based in Dallas, Head will be responsible for managing the Dallas and Houston offices, as well as growing the regional business. He will report to Steve Houston, who had been promoted in June to build the firm's high-net-worth client business and expand its adviser network.

Advantus currently manages $15 billion in insurance assets. Largely due to client growth, its insurance advisory assets have grown an average of 15% annually since 2005 and doubled since 2003. The division uses a fundamental, bottom up investment process suited for each insurance client's needs.


Barrett Becomes Baron's Head of Institutional Sales

James Barrett has joined Baron Capital Group as head of institutional sales, a newly created position. Barrett reports to Linda Martinson, president and chief operating officer.

Barrett has more than 25 years of experience in financial services, and over 19 years in asset management marketing and sales. He comes to Baron Capital from Citadel Investment Group, where he was a managing director and head of global distribution.

Before that, Barrett was a senior managing director and head of global business development for Bear Stearns Asset Management, where he oversaw global sales and marketing to both the institutional and retail markets. He also spent three years with Bank of New York Asset Management Co. as a managing director and global head of sales and servicing for a diverse line of products, including long-only, international, hedge funds-of-funds, and international hedge fund and private equity strategies.

"Jim has extensive experience in asset management sales and distribution, and we are very pleased to welcome him to the firm," Martinson said. "He understands the investment and distribution opportunities we have at Baron, and he will be an excellent addition as we work to strengthen and grow this important part of our business."