Alex. Brown loses 2 key traders to First Union

Senior executive also retires early


June 10, 1999|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

The head of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown's trading operations in Baltimore has taken early retirement, and two other top traders at the firm have resigned to take jobs with competitor First Union Corp. here.

Michael F. "Mickey" Misera, 41, managing director in charge of domestic equity trading, left Friday in the wake of the company's merger with Deutsche Bank AG. His departure was followed by those of Christopher L. Holter and Christopher H. Bartlett II, both of whom left Monday to join First Union Capital Markets Group.

Holter, who was the co-head of Nasdaq trading at Alex. Brown, is now the co-head of equity trading at First Union. Bartlett was a senior Nasdaq trader, and will continue doing the same job at First Union, a First Union executive said.

Traders, also known as market makers, buy and sell large blocks of stock on behalf of the firm, using its money.

"It is a real coup," said J. William Knott, regional president for Maryland at First Union Corp. in Baltimore. "Boy, are we lucky to have them, two world-class traders."

Misera worked at Alex. Brown for 15 years, oversaw about 150 employees and is credited with building the Baltimore-based investment banking firm's trading desk business from $50 million to $350 million.

Shattuck said he had talked with Misera about his plans over the past three months. "We parted on very good terms. He made us a top-10 trading firm. At the end of the day, it is a terrific achievement," Shattuck said.

Misera could not be reached for comment at his Cockeysville home.

Shattuck said David M. DiPietro, who works for Alex. Brown in Baltimore and recently was named head of Deutsche Bank AG's North American Equities business, will be in charge of the trading desk. Other parts of the job will be split between executives.

"He [Misera] is an enormous loss," said a former Alex. Brown trader, who requested anonymity. "He is a good leader. When he was there the firm would just do more business."

Shattuck downplayed the Holter and Bartlett departures, but he said he was not pleased they went to a competitor.

"If we lose a couple of people, we will replace them," he said. "We have got a very deep squad of over-the-counter position traders. There are a lot of guys who are thrilled to step up to the plate."

There have been numerous defections from Alex. Brown since it was acquired in September 1997 by New York-based Bankers Trust Corp. The merger didn't go smoothly and brokers, traders and seven senior executives left.

Last month, 19 Alex. Brown employees, including 10 brokers in the Annapolis office, left to go to a competitor, effectively shutting down the firm's operations in the capital city.

On Friday, Deutsche Bank, which is based in Frankfurt, Germany, completed its acquisition of Bankers Trust Corp. and Alex. Brown. Many employees received large bonus checks as the merger was completed, and some are leaving with the money in hand. They would have missed the bonuses if they had resigned before the deal was finished.

"We always knew we were going to have some losses, but a lot of people didn't like change," Shattuck said. "I think we have gone through most of it [departures] at this point. In terms of strategic losses, there really haven't been many."

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