The financial institutions groups of two Wall Street firms have undergone some major personnel changes.

On April 8, William Weaver, co-director of Lehman Brothers financial institution group, left to start a hedge fund, Weaver Capital Partners.

And Thursday, Salomon Brothers announced it had added three investment bankers to its financial institutions group, filling vacancies created by some high-level departures last year.

Mr. Weaver said he had a long-standing desire to manage a hedge fund. The fund, which will invest in technology and financial services companies, has $3 million in capital. He said he hopes to raise that figure to $25 million within a year.

His departure puts Lehman's financial institutions group under the leadership of Michael O'Hanlon, former co-director of the real estate and mortgage group who became co-director of the financial service group in December. The firm has yet to decide whether it will add a new co- director.

At Salomon, Samuel R. Coleman, James M. Harasimowics, and Maurice Marchesini joined the financial institutions group.

Mr. Coleman, a 12-year veteran of CS First Boston Corp. where he headed the European financial institutions group based in London, will join as managing director and focus on U.S. commercial banks.

Mr. Harasimowics spent eight years with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. and will join as a director, focusing on thrifts.

Mr. Marchesini, formerly a partner in McDonald & Co.'s financial institutions practice, will join as a director and work with Latin American and U.S. banks.

Last year, Salomon Brothers suffered a wave of high-level departures in the wake of a plan to limit compensation. A key group in financial institutions left to join UBS Securities.

"We felt we needed to increase our professional staffing levels to ensure we provide full services to the institutions we cover," said Robert Smith, co-director of Salomon's financial institutions group.

In other recent personnel moves, California-based thrift specialist Todd Zelek, an investment banker, and New York-based thrift analyst Bruce Harting left Salomon Brothers and joined Lehman.

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