BofA Makes Quick Work of Quick

Quick & Reilly, R.I.P.

After ownership changes, management musical chairs and shifting business plans, Rhode Island-based Quick & Reilly is about to be a name of the past. Bank of America announced Thursday that the discount brokerage will be folded into Banc of America Securities and that the firm’s upper management is being reshuffled. At the end of the year, the Quick & Reilly name will be gone.

After Bank of America’s purchase of Fleet—which had previously owned Quick & Reilly—the move was seen as upcoming … and logical.

“It was clear from the outset that the businesses were inherently different,” says Tim Carpenter, senior analyst at Watchfire GomezPro. “You could see this coming.”

Carpenter says that the major benefit for Banc of America Securities was the raw number of advisors it brought in through the purchase. Its 2,200-plus advisors make it the third largest bank brokerage in the country. But Carpenter says the typical low-asset customers that might have gravitated toward Quick in the past will be dropped for expense purposes. “If they leave it’s not the worst thing,” he says. “Quick & Reilly has been moving that way for a while.”

The major personnel shuffling:

***Don Froude, the beleaguered former president of Quick, will now serve as head of mutual fund sales for Columbia Management Group, BofA’s asset management arm. Columbia recently merged with the much-maligned-by-Eliot-Spitzer NationsFunds and has a total of $210 billion assets under management.

***Mike Santo, president of Banc of America Securities, is head of the brokerage unit.

***Stan Gregor is the interim president of what’s left of Quick, and he’ll transition into regional head of brokerage for the Northeast, a market Bank of America has been aiming for in recent years.

As for Quick, it has been in trouble in the eyes of analysts for years. Its attempts to transition from a discount brokerage into more of a wealth management house were considerably less successful than rival Charles Schwab & Co., for example.

“Every single Quick manager in the country is scared, and they probably should be,” says a recruiter.

And Bank of America, like Wachovia and other banks, is picking up the pieces.

“Overnight, you’re talking about doubling the number of advisors and purchasing access to wealthy markets in the Northeast,” Carpenter says. “Bank of America knows what it’s doing.”

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