While long famous names such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers have been extinguished from the stock ticker, and Merrill Lynch is expected to vanish soon, Wachovia will not be vanishing.
The banking assets have been bought by Citigroup but the securities business, Wachovia Securities, remains. Today the head of Wachovia Securities reassured employees that they will remain open for business. As Matthew Goldstein at Business Week reports, Wachovia has actually reversed the recent trend of independent securities firms merging with or transforming themselves into banks.
In selling its banking operation to Citigroup for $2.1 billion, Wachovia now becomes a publicly traded brokerage with $1.1 trillion in customer trading accounts and a money-management firm with $243 billion in assets under management. The Charlotte, NC-based firm retains the nation’s third-largest fleet of brokers. Its Evergreen Investments money-management firm is a major operator of institutional money market funds.
Of course, Wachovia’s days as an independent brokerage with a small investment bank and a mutual fund business may not last very long. Charlie Gasparino at CNBC is already reporting that the remnants of Wachovia may now be looking for a bank to buy to provide itself with a depository asset base. So the last chapter of Wachovia is still unwritten.
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