Keeping Its Maiden Name

When firms decide to get hitched, the first marital squabble usually surrounds how the name will look on the mailbox. Will it be hyphenated, or is it better to have two separate mailboxes? When McDonald & Co. was acquired by KeyCorp, parent of KeyBank, in 1998, McDonald's well-known brand in the brokerage, investment banking and corporate finance arenas was fairly strong, and to rush into a name change

When firms decide to get hitched, the first marital squabble usually surrounds how the name will look on the mailbox. Will it be hyphenated, or is it better to have two separate mailboxes?

When McDonald & Co. was acquired by KeyCorp, parent of KeyBank, in 1998, McDonald's well-known brand in the brokerage, investment banking and corporate finance arenas was fairly strong, and to rush into a name change would have risked investor confusion.

Now in the final leg of streamlining its business units under the Key name, one is conspicuously unchanged: McDonald Financial Group, the brokerage, private banking and trust unit focused on high-net-worth investors. Often, over time, names, even well-regarded ones, such as PaineWebber or Wheat First, disappear completely.

Ron Petrie, vice president of public affairs, says when KeyCorp began taking steps to integrate its business units roughly two years ago it was decided that McDonald would be better off flying its own flag. “There's an element there of the bank's differing culture, sure. It was decided that this way, McDonald would be able to keep a distinct presence in the high-net-worth market,” said Petrie.

Identity intact, McDonald has integrated KeyCorp's trust department in its other private client services, giving KeyCorp its investment banking and institutional responsibilities.

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