For decades, investment bankers have advised executives on matters of utmost corporate secrecy. So why did John S. Reed of Citicorp and Sanford I. Weill of Travelers Group leave investment bankers out in the cold when they negotiated the largest merger in history?

Simply put, they didn't need one, some investment bankers say, because few bankers have the insight into dealmaking or banking of the two chairmen. They unveiled plans Monday to create the first truly diversified U.S. financial services company, Citigroup.

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