BB&T Corp. said it will keep its newly acquired broker-dealer, Scott & Stringfellow Inc., separate from its in-house brokerage - a strategy recently favored by other banking companies.
Though the details are being ironed out, BB&T of Winston-Salem, N.C., plans to direct high-net-worth clients to Scott & Stringfellow and people with lesser investable assets to BB&T Investment Services Inc., said John Sherman Jr., the president and chief executive of Scott & Stringfellow in Richmond, Va.
Some Scott & Stringfellow clients may also become customers of BB&T's trust division, he said.
"There's more than enough for everybody in terms of opportunity," he said.
To determine how to integrate a brokerage it has purchased, a banking company considers factors such as the size, reputation, and clientele of the respective units, observers said.
Melding firms "is very time-consuming, very expensive," said Rolland Johannsen, the president and chief executive of Furash & Co., a Washington management consulting firm.
"And whether or not going to all that trouble is going to give them a larger impact on the market than keeping them separate is the fundamental question."
Some banking companies, like PNC Bank Corp. of Pittsburgh and First Union Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., run their internal brokerages separately from the firms they have bought. Fleet Financial Group of Boston, on the other hand, folded its tiny brokerage unit into Quick & Reilly of New York.
One of the reasons BB&T, a $37.8 billion-asset banking company, decided to keep the brokerages separate was to build on Scott & Stringfellow's brand name.
"Scott & Stringfellow has been around for more than 100 years," a BB&T spokesman said, "so from a retail brokerage standpoint, they have outstanding name recognition in the marketplace."
And since Scott & Stringfellow and BB&T both had successful brokerage operations, Mr. Sherman said, it was practical to keep them separate "as we look to see what makes the most sense down the road."
Though there is some potential for competition, Steven C. DeLaney, an executive vice president at Scott & Stringfellow, said BB&T's brokerage clients are primarily customers of the bank and Scott & Stringfellow's are not.
"I think that's one of the client issues that will have to evolve over time," he said in an interview after the deal closed in March.
Both units have begun identifying clients that may be more appropriate for the other, but the banking company has not set criteria. BB&T hopes to establish profiles of a "typical customer" by Jan. 1, as well as installing a referral system, Mr. Sherman said.
It's "still early in the game," he said.
Scott & Stringfellow has 250 brokers in 33 branch offices and about $13 billion of assets under management.
BB&T Investment Services has 60 investment counselors and $2.9 billion of assets under management.
Though Scott & Stringfellow brokers sell a full range of investment products, those at BB&T sell only bonds, mutual funds, and annuities.
Stocks are sold only on a discount basis at BB&T.
Since March, Scott & Stringfellow brokers have offered the BB&T Funds, which have $1.8 billion of assets under management.