Monroe Securities Inc. in Chicago and Carson Medlin Co. in Tampa, Fla., are merging.

The companies said Wednesday that they have agreed to combine their operations effective immediately, with Carson Medlin operating as a division of Monroe. The combined company will be headquartered in Chicago.

The move, announced on the 20th anniversary of Carson Medlin's founding, would expand its operations into the Midwest, co-founder Gray Medlin said in a press release. The new enterprise also plans to open an office in San Francisco, which Medlin will head.

"The West Coast has favorable demographics and a vibrant community banking scene; the region is very attractive in ways that are similar to our traditional Southeast markets," he said. "Although such high-growth markets are out of favor right now as a result of the recession, we believe they are where we need to be in the long run."

Medlin will head the Carson Medlin division — along with Greg Dingens of Monroe — and will lead the company's expanded West Coast operations.

The combined company will continue to offer merger-and-acquisition advisory services; capital raising; valuations, appraisals and financial fairness opinions; and Monroe's traditional market-making, sales and trading services for investors.

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