'Dean of real estate analysts' moves on Switch: After a 21-year career at Alex. Brown Inc., Robert A. Frank has resigned to take executive positions with competitor Legg Mason Inc.

August 28, 1996|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,SUN STAFF

Robert A. Frank, the Alex. Brown Inc. managing director who established the investment firm as a prominent force in the burgeoning real estate investment trust industry, yesterday resigned to co-head the capital markets division at competitor Legg Mason Inc.

In his new position, Frank will also become an executive vice president and head of research at Legg Mason, which manages $35 billion in assets and posted record net earnings of $38 million in its fiscal year ended in March.

Frank also is expected to help chart the Baltimore-based investment house's course for growth among institutional clients and expand its research capabilities.

"Legg Mason has set a tremendous platform for growth," said Frank, 47, who spends spare time composing music and studying tai chi and Korean karate. "The idea now will be to blend the research side of the business with the investment banking side and create added value for clients."

Frank's departure caps a 21-year career at Alex. Brown, where most recently he headed the firm's real estate securities research department and had exposure to the firm's REIT

securities investment banking activities.

"He's the dean of real estate analysts nationally," said Anthony W. Deering, chief executive of the Rouse Co., the Columbia real estate concern with projects valued at $4.8 billion. "He has more experience and a better constituency than anyone in the industry."

During his tenure at Alex. Brown, REITs developed from a fledgling financing vehicle with $7 billion in capital to a roughly $60 billion industry today.

"He's been a great advocate and supporter," said Stanford J. Alexander, chairman of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, the industry's trade organization. "He's clearly one of the people who has moved this industry to greater heights, and he was really a pioneer at educating both companies and investors on how effective the REIT structure could be."

"He'll be an impact player right away there," said F. Patrick Hughes, chief executive of Mid-Atlantic Realty Trust, a Linthicum-based REIT where Frank is a board member. "His importance to us has been incalculable."

At Legg Mason, Frank will be charged with expanding the company's capital markets division, which accounts for about 10 percent of its total business. Raymond A. "Chip" Mason, Legg Mason's chairman, said he hopes to as much as double the capital markets work by 1999, depending on overall Wall Street activity.

"He realizes that quality research is critically important, because our products are very research-driven," Mason said of Frank. "He's a high-quality individual who always wants to do things the right way."

Frank will co-head Legg Mason's capital markets activities with Executive Vice President Richard J. Himelfarb, and replace Robert Quasman as director of research. Quasman will become a co-director of the company's money management affiliate, Mason said.

"He's going to do something different, which he wanted to do," said A. B. Krongard, Alex. Brown's chairman and chief executive. "We appreciate what he's done for us and we wish him well."

Pub Date: 8/28/96

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