Legg begins researching technology firms William Loomis heads new group tracking rapid growth in region

November 17, 1998|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc. said yesterday that it has formed a new technology research group headed by William R. Loomis.

The Baltimore-based brokerage and money management firm said it created the group because it is expanding its coverage of rapidly growing technology companies in the Baltimore-Washington region.

"We are trying to create a practice that can have impact in our own back yard," said Robert A. Frank, director of research at Legg. "We want to be an important factor in the digital economy."

Frank said technology coverage will become as important to Legg as health care and financial services, two key industries tracked by the company.

The new group, which will have about eight analysts and support staff members, will enable Legg to increase the amount of research it sells to large, institutional investors, such as Fidelity Investments, T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. and Putnam Investments Inc., he said.

"We are creating a critical mass in this area," Frank said. "It is really an effort on our part to market our research products."

Loomis, who worked at Ferris, Baker Watts Inc. in Baltimore for seven years, joined Legg in 1997, and follows companies specializing in information technology.

He said analysts in the group cover about 32 publicly held companies, but he expects the number of firms they follow to triple in the next year.

"We pretty much have enough in place to accelerate our research," he said.

Legg plans to open a branch office early next year in Northern Virginia, a hotbed for technology companies, Frank said.

Legg has laid off five employees who followed the restaurant and leisure industries as the company moved to direct more analyst coverage to technology.

Pub Date: 11/17/98

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