M&T Securities Inc. of Buffalo, which is pushing hard to expand its brokerage business, said it has signed up 14 investment executives and will hire 11 more within about nine months.

Recruiting began after its parent, M&T Bank Corp., formerly First Empire State Corp., announced in October that it was acquiring Onbancorp, Syracuse, N.Y.

Before the $872 million acquisition, which closed April 1, M&T Securities had about 75 investment executives who held Series 7 licenses, as well as about 500 sales representatives, who were primarily bank employees and had Series 6 licenses.

But the investment business was not emphasized at Onbancorp, which employed only two Series 6-licensed representatives. Additional hirings were needed to cover the newly acquired regions of Syracuse, Albany, N.Y., and Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

"For us it's a very core business and one which we think in the future will play a very important role in growing the profitability of the bank holding company," said Richard Shatzkin, vice president of M&T Securities.

Mr. Shatzkin said that the additional employees would give financial advice to bank and nonbank clients, focusing on retirement, college planning, and investments.

If they do not currently hold Series 7 licenses, they will soon, he added.

Of the 14 hirings, 10 were of outsiders, two were of M&T Securities' salespeople from Buffalo, and two were of former Onbancorp employees.

Eight of the 14 work in Syracuse, including Jerrold L. Kopsa, who was promoted to sales manager. He was previously a senior investment executive in Buffalo. Three others work in Wilkes-Barre, two in Albany, and one in Rochester, N.Y.

Mr. Shatzkin said he hoped the new staff would be on board by April."You can't necessarily find the right 25 people on the same date. The right opportunities come along at different times."

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