A top executive has resigned from Wall Street Investor Services as a result of the firm's recent sale of a unit that helped manage bank brokerages.

Stephen Hamrick, executive vice president and managing director of Wall Street Investor's preferred investments division, had been brought in a year and a half ago to seek out bank clients. He finished at Wall Street last Friday.

Mr. Hamrick's division helped about 50 banks run their brokerage operations.

Wall Street Investor, which is now mainly a discount brokerage, sold its unit that manages bank programs in June to Liberty Financial Cos. Liberty is a Boston-based money management firm with its own subsidiary that manages bank brokerage operations.

The preferred investments division at Wall Street Investor was started in 1981 when the firm was founded.

"I don't think there was a place for me at Liberty," said Mr. Hamrick, who is 43.

He came to Wall Street Investor in January 1994 with two missions, he said. His first duty was to turn around a "rocky" banking unit. The other, ironically, was to seek competitors for Wall Street to buy.

Mr. Hamrick said he had signed on about 20 banking clients since he began at Wall Street.

During his career, he built a staff of eight regional sales managers, including two from the banking industry, to develop new bank clients.

Mr. Hamrick brought in James Daniel, a former president of the brokerage unit at Barnett Banks Inc., Jacksonville, Fla. He also snared Brian Doherty the former president of the brokerage subsidiary of Cleveland-based Keycorp.

One industry insider, who asked not to be named, disputed Mr. Hamrick's claim of capturing as many new clients as he said.

The time it takes from getting in the door to actually signing up a bank client is at least six months to a year, the source said.

Mr. Hamrick came to Wall Street from PaineWebber Inc., where he was an investment banker. He replaced Paul Werlin, who left to take a similar position at rival Robert Thomas Securities in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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