GERMANY - Commerzbank, Germany’s fourth-largest bank, has appointed Achim Kassow as its new head of asset management operations, effective from April 1.

Since last November, the 38-year-old Kassow has been in charge of retail and private banking on Commerzbank’s management board. He now will take over responsibility for asset management from fellow board member Klaus Pathig.

Pathig, 61, will remain in charge of Commerzbank’s international business.

Commerzbank said Kassow’s appointment was aimed at better serving the growing need among investors for fund products as well as investment advice.

Analysts said Kassow’s appointment would likely prompt closer co-operation between Commerzbank’s private banking and asset management divisions.

Commerzbank’s asset management division includes Cominvest, a German institutional fund provider and ADIG, Commerzbank’s retail fund arm.

Jupiter, a UK retail fund arm, is also part of the unit.

At the end of September 2004, Cominvest had €21.3bn managed in institutional funds, making it Germany’s eighth-largest provider of these funds.

Following losses in 2001 and 2002, Commerzbank’s asset management unit has recently bounced back. In the first nine months of 2004, the division had an operating profit of €126m, up 73% from the one year earlier.

However, a Cominvest spokeswoman confirmed newspaper reports that ADIG suffered €2.6bn in investor outflows during 2004. Figures for the full year are due to be published on February 16.