A management shuffle at KBW Inc. has John Duffy going back to focusing on what he and the New York firm he's run for a dozen years are best known for: advising on bank mergers.

Duffy, 62, stepped aside on Thursday as chief executive of the firm that operates as Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. and will stay on in a business development role. Passing the reins to longtime deputy Thomas Michaud may prove wise for Duffy and his ailing firm, experts say.

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