First Union CEO Defends “Flawless” Acquisitions

First Union CEO Ken Thompson says he’s sick and tired of hearing about all the problems his firm has faced with prior acquisitions and integrations, and he’s not going to take it any more. In a presentation to analysts at the Prudential Financial Services Group “New Leadership” conference Thursday (a conference that was also broadcast over the Web), Thompson said he wants to set the record straight.

First Union CEO Ken Thompson says he’s sick and tired of hearing about all the problems his firm has faced with prior acquisitions and integrations, and he’s not going to take it any more.

In a presentation to analysts at the Prudential Financial Services Group “New Leadership” conference Thursday (a conference that was also broadcast over the Web), Thompson said he wants to set the record straight. He defended his firm’s plan to merge with Wachovia – insisting that First Union has the ability to integrate Wachovia over the course of a three-year stretch, as planned. And while he admitted that First Union had problems integrating CoreStates, he said the firm has a much more successful long-term track record than the “misleading” picture being painted by analysts and reporters.

First Union has “flawlessly” acquired and integrated 10 broker/dealers and investment advisory firms during the past 15 years, he said. He also said that Wachovia currently has very few Series 6 or Series 7 licensed brokers in its bank branches.

If First Union merges with Wachovia, it would expect to license about 1,000 of Wachovia’s bank employees to sell brokerage products, according to Thompson.

“When we get Wachovia production to the level of First Union branches, that’s another $30 million a year in annual revenue [for the firm],” he said.

SunTrust launched a competitive bid to merge with Wachovia shortly after First Union announced it had reached an agreement to merge with Wachovia on April 16.

Editor's note: For any comments regarding this article, or to suggest a story idea for RR Online or Registered Representative magazine, contact Editor in Chief Dan Jamieson at [email protected], Online Editor Rick Weinberg at [email protected], Online Managing Editor Cheryl Cooper at [email protected] or Senior Editor Michael Hayes at [email protected]

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