NEW YORK - Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. has hired a research team from Putnam Lovell de Guardiola & Thornton.

The group tracked 50 investment banks, regional brokers, asset management companies, and e-brokers at Putnam Lovell and will do the same at Keefe Bruyette.

"This is a major step forward in our effort to extend KBW's franchise from being a bank-stock research boutique to being a financial-services research boutique," Keefe research director David S. Berry wrote in a memo. "With the hiring of the Putnam Lovell staff, KBW will now have the leading research franchise in this [new] segment as well."

Meanwhile, sources say departures from the company have slowed considerably. (A report in Tuesday's American Banker on a recent spate of departures incorrectly included Bradley Vadas among those who had left. According to the company, Mr. Vadas has taken a new post with Keefe Asset Management.)

The hires from Putnam Lovell are: Dean Eberling, Lauren Smith, Russell Keene, Greg Trost, Thelma Alston, and Elizabeth Garcia. They resigned from Putnam Lovell on Tuesday and are to start at Keefe Bruyette on March 27.

Keefe Bruyette specializes in investment research in the banking sector, covering 200 banks and thrifts. It also follows 40 insurance companies, a number it expects to increase to 60 by yearend, Mr. Berry said. He said Keefe also is looking into expanding its coverage in specialty finance and e-finance.

- Tania Padgett

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