Magazine article American Banker

First Union Brokerage Chief Eyes Higher National Status

Magazine article American Banker

First Union Brokerage Chief Eyes Higher National Status

Article excerpt

The newly appointed chief of First Union Corp.'s brokerage wants nothing short of national recognition for his operation.

Daniel J. Ludeman said he sees First Union Securities Brokerage Corp. surpassing well-known names such as Prudential Securities and Citigroup Inc.'s Salomon Smith Barney unit to become the third-largest brokerage in the nation, based on number of brokers, in three to five years.

"Given our growth prospects, that's where we think we'll end up," Mr. Ludeman said.

First Union's brokerage operation is ranked sixth, with 6,300 registered representatives in 41 states gathered from its own ranks and the acquisitions of Wheat First Butcher Singer Inc. in 1998 and Everen Capital Corp. this fall.

Mr. Ludeman declined to discuss the possibility of more acquisitions as a way of reaching his goals, but the company has said in a regulatory filing that it is on the lookout for opportunities.

A former Wheat First executive, Mr. Ludeman, 43, was named chief executive of the brokerage this month, succeeding James R. Boris, 55, who retired.

But combining the systems of two large brokerage operations can be costly.

First Union disclosed in a regulatory finding Nov. 15 that it would take a $60 million charge because of the Everen acquisition. The charge covers the costs of converting technology, combining offices, and other organizational matters, a spokeswoman said.

Stephen Biggar, a banking analyst at Standard & Poor's Equity Group, said the charge did not seem unusually high. …

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