TD Waterhouse Reduces Fees Charged to Advisers

TD Waterhouse Group, the New York-based discount broker mostly owned by Toronto-Dominion Bank, on Thursday slashed equity trading commissions that are charged to more than 2,800 independent advisers who trade through the firm on behalf of clients.Advisers will now pay $12 for market orders and $15 for limit orders, down from $24, said a spokeswoman. Retail investors already pay a flat fee of $12.

TD Waterhouse's move came after commissions for active retail investors were cut by Charles Schwab & Co. this month from $29.95 to $14.95. San Francisco-based Schwab introduced a flat $29.95 rate for advisers in September, a spokesman said.

- Niamh Ring

Cullen/Frost Makes 2d Insurance Agency Deal

Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. of San Antonio said Wednesday that its insurance arm has signed a letter of intent to buy a Houston-based independent insurance agency.Terms of the deal for Wayland Hancock Insurance Agency Inc. were not disclosed. The sale is expected to close in April, and Wayland would be folded into the Frost Insurance Agency.

The purchase would be Frost's second of an insurance agency; it bought Professional Insurance Agents Inc. of Victoria, Tex., last May. Cullen/Frost Bankers had $7 billion of assets at yearend.

- Cheryl Winokur

Mellon Hires Fleet Exec To Sell to Rich Families

Mellon Financial Corp. of Pittsburgh has hired a FleetBoston Financial Group private banking executive to oversee an expansion of its high-net-worth business.Kevin A. Soucy was senior vice president and director of product development in the private bank at FleetBoston. He joined Mellon this week as vice president and national sales officer for Mellon Private Asset Management's family office group.

Mr. Soucy is based in Boston and is responsible for selling investment management and master custody services to families with assets of $100-million or more.

Before joining FleetBoston, Mr. Soucy was a vice president and pension trust officer at KeyCorp in Cleveland.

Mellon's private asset management arm has $87 billion of assets under management and administration.

- Karen Talley

Schwab Assets Fell 1% In Jan., Then Recovered

Charles Schwab & Co. said customer assets totaled $718.1 billion at the end of January, down 1% from December but up 38% from January 1999.As of Feb. 4, customer assets had climbed 4%, to $746 billion, an increase the company attributed to market fluctuations.

The San Francisco-based brokerage brought in $12.3 billion of net new assets in January, up 45% from January 1999.

- Amy L. Anderson

Block Hires MasterCard Chief Financial Officer

H&R Block Inc., which is reinventing itself as a broad financial services company, has hired MasterCard International's chief financial officer.Frank J. Cotroneo, 41, will join Kansas City-based block this month in the same capacity.

Mr. Cotroneo had been MasterCard's CFO since 1996. The credit card company has yet to choose a successor, a spokeswoman said.

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