First Union Corp. is putting its name back on its section 20 subsidiary.
The Charlotte, N.C., banking company said this week that it will change the name of its underwriting unit, Wheat First Securities Inc., to First Union Capital Markets Corp. on Feb. 1. The subsidiary went by that name before First Union bought Wheat First Butcher Singer Inc. last year.
The Wheat First moniker will not disappear, however. The section 20's equities business will retain the name Wheat First Union and remain based in Richmond, Va., Wheat First's home before its acquisition.
The renamed section 20 will include Bowles Hollowell Conner, the Charlotte, N.C.-based M&A advisory shop First Union bought last year. Though it will be housed in First Union Capital Markets, Bowles Hollowell will keep its name.
First Union also announced this week the promotion of the president of its section 20, Ross M. Annable, to executive vice president of the holding company. Mr. Annable, who joined First Union in 1982, will keep his responsibilities at the section 20.
"We have developed a full array of securities products," Mr. Annable said. "Now we are going to focus on tightly integrating our fixed-income, equity, and M&A pieces into a single unit."
Though integration is the ultimate goal when banks pick up securities firms, the relationship must be managed carefully, said Brad Ball, a bank equity analyst with Credit Suisse First Boston.
"I think the pace First Union has followed was probably about right," Mr. Ball said. "But their goal is the ability to offer one-stop shopping, and integration is the key."
As president of the securities subsidiary, Mr. Annable performs many of the duties associated with a chief administrative officer, including operations, technology, and capital markets compliance.
He has an eclectic background. Between his training as an electrical engineer and business school, he served a stint on a Navy nuclear submarine. He was the treasurer of a steel trading company before joining First Union.
"I believe it is very beneficial to be on the corporate side of the desk. You can't help but take that understanding of the customer with you when you are on this side of the desk," he said.
Mr. Annable reports to Ken Thompson, chief executive officer of the securities subsidiary and a First Union vice chairman. Mr. Annable said the securities business has a high profile within the banking company.
Now executives hope to expand First Union's traditional middle-market corporate customer base.
To help accomplish this, the bank launched a television advertising campaign in the fall. The 60-second prime-time spots feature surreal computer animation by Hollywood's Industrial Light and Magic and promote such niche financial services as M&A advisory.
The campaign was aimed at affluent investors and middle-market companies seeking investment banking services, Mr. Annable said.