Just last year banker Roberto DeGuardiola billed himself as a lone wolf in the world of mutual fund mergers. Last week, however, he decided to help lead the pack at investment banking boutique Putnam, Lovell & Thornton Inc.

But Mr. DeGuardiola said he is not doing an "about face" by joining the San Francisco-based firm. He described it is a natural progression for him and good friend Donald Putnam.

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