DALLAS - Two members of First Southwest Co's sales and trading department have resigned from the Dallas firm, the co-chief executive officer said yesterday.

Last week, Robert Jones, 49, who had been the company's chief underwriter and trader for almost five years, left First Southwest for personal and family reasons, Hillel Feinberg said. "It was an amicable departure," he said.

Feinberg said the firm had asked Jones to stay on as a consultant, but that the former chief trader wanted some time off and planned to reevaluate whether he would stay in the business. Jones has been in underwriting and trading almost all of his career and also worked with the E.F. Hutton office in Houston. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Meantime, Michael Sain, 42, resigned earlier this month as co-manager for institutional municipal sales at First Southwest to become first vice president of fixed-income sales at the new Dallas office of Morgan Keegan & Co.

"Morgan Keegan is a firm I have a lot of history with," Sain said. He had worked the Memphis headquarters for Morgan Keegan for five years before joining First Southwest Co. in January 1993.

Feinberg dismissed rumors that the departures represented reductions in the company's sales and trading operations. "We are very committed to the whole area of trade and underwriting, and we want to build that area up in both tax-exempt and taxable fixed-income," he said.

The firm plans to add about two more staff members in both municipal and taxable sales and trading in the next three to nine months, Feinberg said. "When the markets are chaotic ... it is a good time to hire people," he said.

First Southwest Co. is a leading regional financial adviser and investment banking firm.

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