Magazine article American Banker

1st Union's Private-Banking Chief Tested by Fire

Magazine article American Banker

1st Union's Private-Banking Chief Tested by Fire

Article excerpt

Alan R. Adelman, the new chief investment officer for First Union Corp.'s pri- vate client group, knows how to put out fires.

When a wildfire threatened his Malibu house four years ago, Mr. Adelman raced home from his office at First Interstate Bancorp in Los Angeles to keep it from going up in flames.

"Here I am with a charred monogrammed shirt, suit pants, and a blackened bandana wrapped around my face," Mr. Adelman recalled. The banker climbed to his roof and quenched the fire with water from a garden hose.

These days, Mr. Adelman is more likely to be battling heat thrown off by the volatile financial markets than beating back smoke. Is he as successful at that as he was at saving his home?

"No, but I do try to be responsive," Mr. Adelman said.

And that's why First Union tapped him to help it manage assets for wealthy people-a highly customized, high-touch business. He is now boss to 125 port- folio managers, who work in 70 First Union offices from Florida to Connec- ticut. But according to Mr. Adelman, the real boss is the clientele: The bank manages $26 billion of assets for the well-heeled.

Richard K. Wagoner, First Union's chief investment officer and an executive vice president in the bank's capital management group, said that when he was looking for someone to head First Investment Advisors-a job that entails coor- dinating the work of portfolio managers, private bankers, trust officers, and financial planners-Mr. Adelman's resume quickly floated to the top. …

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