Raymond James to buy brokerage Howe Barnes

By Dow Jones Newswires
Posted Dec. 29, 2010 at 9:48 a.m.

Raymond James Financial Inc. said it has agreed to acquire brokerage firm Howe Barnes Hoefer & Arnett Inc., bolstering its booming private-client unit.

Terms weren’t disclosed.

Raymond James has seen its performance improve of late as it has set aside less to cover bad loans and its private-client group, its largest segment, has shown strong bottom-line growth. The division oversees most of the regional brokerage’s wealth advisory and brokerage business. It said Wednesday the acquisition will expand the unit as well as its presence in the community and regional bank and thrift capital markets sector.

The company called Chicago-based Howe Barnes “one of the nation’s leading middle-market full-service brokerage firms focusing on depository institutions.” The target has operations in equity research, sales, trading and investment banking services, and provides private wealth management services for more than 4,500 clients, with over $1.9 billion in assets under management.

Raymond James shares closed Tuesday at $33.59 and were inactive in recent premarket trading.

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