Alex. Brown brokerage in Towson to close

Deutsche Bank will shift clients, workers downtown

May 15, 2002|By William Patalon III | William Patalon III,SUN STAFF

As part of its push to cut costs and focus more on wealthy investors, Deutsche Bank AG will close its Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown brokerage office in Towson during the next several months, shifting the clients and most of the employees there to its downtown Baltimore headquarters, company officials said yesterday.

In addition, the Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown brokerages in Richmond, Va., and in Jacksonville and Palm Beach, Fla., will close during the next 60 to 90 days.

Job losses there should be minimal, officials said, because Deutsche Bank is in talks to have other brokerage firms take over the employees of those branches, officials said.

The brokerage offices were operated by Alex. Brown & Sons Inc. until that company was bought by Bankers Trust Corp. in September 1997. Deutsche Bank bought BT Alex. Brown in June 1999 and has phased out the Alex. Brown name on most of its operations but retained it on its brokerage unit.

Deutsche Bank has brokerage operations in 17 markets and will focus on boosting its business in the 14 markets it will serve after the Virginia and two Florida branches are shut down, the company said.

Once the Towson branch, at 210 W. Pennsylvania Ave., is closed, clients will do business with Deutsche Bank's brokerage office on the 23rd floor of the Alex. Brown Building at 1 South St., said David M. DiPietro, a managing director and head of Deutsche Bank's Private Client Division, which operates the bank's U.S. brokerage business.

"The Baltimore market is our home market, is our core market," DiPietro said. "We're just consolidating functions there. We expect it to be relatively seamless for the customers of [the Towson] office."

The company will encourage most of the Towson employees to move downtown, meaning that "a handful" of employees will lose their jobs, DiPietro said. It's too early to predict a precise number of job losses, he said.

The downtown branch has about 90 employees, and the Towson branch has 46, the company said.

The Richmond, Jacksonville and Palm Beach branches are among the smallest - as measured by revenue - in the Deutsche Bank brokerage network, the company said.

The German parent company is on a cost-cutting binge as it searches for additional revenue. As part of that sales push, the banking giant's private client business is focusing on wealthy clients, those with at least $3 million to $5 million to invest; and the "ultra-wealthy," those with $25 million or more to invest.

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