Frank J. Barkocy, one of Wall Street's most senior banking industry analysts, has departed Advest Inc.

Mr. Barkocy said he left his position as a senior vice president and managing director after John Shaughnessy, director of research, told him the firm wanted to "shift some of our research assets away from regional banks and deploy this resource among our other research focus areas."

His departure leaves Advest with two banking analysts in its financial institutions group, Anthony J. Polini and Salvatore J. DiMartino, plus a senior associate, Joseph Roberto.

Mr. Barkocy, 51, whose specialty is regional banks, said Thursday that he was "exploring a number of interesting opportunities" on both the buy and sell sides of the investment community.

Mr. Barkocy has been a bank analyst for 25 years. He joined Advest, which is based in Hartford, Conn., five years ago after more than 20 years of tracking banks for Merrill Lynch & Co.

Among the biggest changes in the industry during the past two and a half decades is the higher level of sophistication among banks in dealing with the investment community, he said.

"What we see today in banks' investor relations is probably a hundredfold better than it was when I began," he said. "their willingness to talk has increased significantly."

In particular, the amount of information on banks available to investors has increased markedly, the analyst said. "The banks, with some prodding from analysts, have moved to much broader disclosures about their business," he said.

Overall, he said the biggest banking transformation since 1970 have been the rise of nonbank competitors and the emergence of the superregional class of banks from the sector of the industry he analyzes.

"It's really a bit hard to grasp how much change there has been," he said. "And the industry is much better today for many of those changes, particularly in its management."

As a follower of regional institutions, Mr. Barkocy said he counted "many long-standing relationships in the banking business."

Among the young bank officers he got to know who are now chief executives are Terrence Murray of Fleet Financial Group, Thomas H. O'Brien of PNC Bank Corp., and Eugene A. Miller of Comerica Inc.

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