GLOBAL - Jim Riepe is to retire as vice chairman of asset management firm T. Rowe Price - with his responsibilities shifting to Edward Bernard.

The Baltimore-based firm said the 24-year company veteran would retire at the end of this year. The move was part of a "planned management transition".

Bernard, 49, has worked with Riepe since joining the firm in 1988. He currently oversees distribution for individual investors and financial intermediaries, as well as corporate marketing and communications. He's been on the firm's board since 1999.

"Jim Riepe has been a prominent leader in our firm and our industry over the past 24 years," said chairman and president George Roche.

Riepe recently completed his second term as chairman of the board of the Investment Company Institute. He was a member of the board at the NASD. Before joining T. Rowe, Riepe was executive vice president at the Vanguard Group.

"T. Rowe Price will continue its longstanding commitment to world-class service for our clients and a diversified distribution strategy to support the firm's growth," Bernard added.

"Our corporate culture and tradition have always emphasized the primacy of client interest, and that remains the bedrock of our business strategy, even as we expand our services to a growing number of investors around the world."

The firm has $244.8bn in assets under management.