Magazine article American Banker

Prudential Bullish on Mellon, but Not on Nat City

Magazine article American Banker

Prudential Bullish on Mellon, but Not on Nat City

Article excerpt

Recent leadership moves at Mellon Financial Corp. and National City Corp. prompted Michael L. Mayo, a Prudential Equity Group LLC analyst, to review his ratings of the companies' shares.

On Friday, Mr. Mayo upgraded Mellon's shares to "overweight," from "underweight." In an accompanying note, he wrote that last week Robert P. Kelly, the Pittsburgh company's chairman, chief executive, and president, laid out a formal growth plan, something analysts had been waiting for since he took the job in February.

In another note Friday, Mr. Mayo downgraded Nat City's shares to "underweight," from "neutral weight," and wrote that its recent moves to retain potential candidates to succeed David A. Daberko as the chairman and CEO make the $138 billion-asset Cleveland company less of an acquisition target.

The new compensation packages that Jeffrey D. Kelly and Peter E. Raskind, Nat City's vice chairmen, received last month give them financial incentive to stay with the company until Mr. Daberko retires, which he has said he would do within the next four years.

Neither a Mellon spokesman nor a Nat City spokeswoman would discuss the research notes.

In the Mellon note, Mr. Mayo wrote, "New CEOs are often a leading indicator toward greater value creation, and we believe that Mellon's CEO has outlined a series of steps that should help liven up what we had considered a sleepy organization."

During Mellon's annual analyst conference last week, Robert Kelly said he expects to increase its profit margin by 100 basis points in each of the next three years through expense control, expanding the institutional management and global custody businesses, and refining the retail business.

Mellon also announced a plan to unify its retail brands under the Mellon name. The company, which has $918 billion of assets under management, said the unification would cut back-office costs. …

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