Alex. Brown name may stay

Division catering to wealthy investors could carry brand

October 05, 2001|By Robert Little | Robert Little,SUN STAFF

Deutsche Bank officials said yesterday that a division catering to wealthy investors will likely keep the Alex. Brown name when the company's brokerage business is renamed Deutsche Bank Securities next year.

Details are not final, but the Private Client Division of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown might be renamed "Alex. Brown, a division of Deutsche Bank Securities," or something similar, said Thomas Schweizer Jr., head of the division.

A spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank AG in New York confirmed the company's intentions.

Deutsche Bank announced Wednesday that it intended to drop the Alex. Brown name, a holdover from the old Baltimore-based Alex. Brown & Sons Inc., which the German bank acquired as part of its purchase of Bankers Trust Corp. in 1999. The move was described as part of a plan to "create greater brand consistency globally and to strengthen [Deutsche Bank's] corporate identity."

"Awareness of the Deutsche Bank brand has increased significantly in the U.S. over the last two years, and it is time we evolve to a truly global brand that will reflect our scale and scope," said Seth Waugh, chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank's corporate investment banking division in the Americas, in making Wednesday's announcement.

The Sun reported the name change yesterday, noting that the Alex. Brown name might continue to be used in a company division.

After the announcement and the story in The Sun, Schweizer said he received "9,000 e-mails and phone calls" from clients and employees asking about the name change. He sent a memo to all of the division's brokers assuring them that "it is our intention to retain the Alex. Brown name."

"They all said that the Alex. Brown name was a very strong name, that they all thought it should stay, and they asked what we were doing to keep it," Schweizer said.

`High net worth' clients

Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Rohini Pragasam said yesterday that while Deutsche Bank's brokerage operation will no longer be called Alex. Brown, the company expects to use the name for the private client investment unit within the operation.

The Private Client Division, based in Baltimore, offers investment services to "high net worth" clients and controls about $100 billion in assets. The division has offices in 18 cities and employs about 1,200 people.

The unit represents about 40 percent of the original Alex. Brown & Sons, which was sold in 1997 to Bankers Trust.

The rest of the original company - investment banking, asset management, equity underwriting and other businesses - have been mixed with similar operations from Deutsche Bank and Bankers Trust, and will not be part of the renamed Alex. Brown.

`Name is not disappearing'

Schweizer said that Deutsche Bank officials never intended to scrap the Alex. Brown name, only to consolidate its global businesses under the Deutsche Bank brand. The name-change announcement did not mention that the Alex. Brown name would survive within the private client division, because "the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing," he said.

"The bottom line is, the Alex. Brown name is not disappearing," said Benjamin Griswold IV, the former chairman of Alex. Brown & Sons and now senior chairman of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown.

Griswold, a descendant of the company's founder, sold the corporate rights to the Alex. Brown name for $10.5 million in 1993.

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