First Union Corp. plans to enter the equity underwriting business this year, filling out the menu of capital markets products it can offer customers through its section 20 subsidiary.

The subsidiary, First Union Capital Markets Inc., will hire up to 60 equities traders, salespeople, and analysts over the next 18 months but has yet to select a leader for the new operation, said Louis A. "Jerry" Schmitt, a managing director and co-head of the subsidiary.

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