Janus Names New Institutional Sales Head

June 4, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Janus Capital Group, a Denver-based mutual fund firm that found itself entangled in the abusive fund trading scandal, has tapped a new institutional sales chief but announced the move with less than great fanfare.

Janus only revealed the appointment of John Zimmerman as the company’s senior vice president of institutional services in a short  press release posted to its Web site   announcing stock and stock options granted to the new executive. Janus said the public announcement and formal notification to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was because of a NYSE rule.

Zimmerman, 41, was granted 21,526 shares of restricted stock, which have a three-year vesting schedule, with the first vesting occurring on March 31, 2005, the company said. Zimmerman also was given 50,652 stock options, which have an exercise price of $16.26 and a 10-year term, the company said. 

Janus spokesman Blair Johnson told the Rocky Mountain News that the company had created a new post for Zimmerman and that he is not a direct replacement for Lars Soderberg, former institutional sales chief, who recently agreed to take a leave of absence.

Soderberg’s status hasn’t changed, and he remains on leave, Johnson said. Soderberg has been responsible for handling sales to big institutions such as pension funds, insurers and companies’ 401(k) retirement plans. The institutional division had been at the center of the investigations by various regulators.

Janus said in early April that it was evaluating Soderberg’s role in light of ongoing investigations into the fund industry. Later that month, Janus agreed to pay $226 million in penalties and fee cuts to settle the allegations that it engaged in abusive trading practices (See  Report: Whiston Aware of Market Timing Before Current Investigation ).

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer last year accused Janus and other mutual fund firms of allowing favored investors to market time its funds (See  Spitzer Fund Abuse Probe Pumps Out More Subpoenas ).