J. Richard Fredericks, the well-regarded Montgomery Securities bank analyst, plans to join the San Francisco firm's corporate finance department and cede his research responsibilities.

In his new capacity, he will reportedly help advise large, regional banks.

After 20 years covering the banking industry, Mr. Fredericks, 49, is considered one of the top western and regional bank analysts.

He is known for his detailed research and the respect he commands among top bank management.

Recently he has pushed the idea that technology will help large banks become more efficient. Smaller banks that can't make the investment in technology, may be left behind, he warns.

"Size now has real importance," he said recently. "Pure size by itself is going to be a contributing factor to success going forward."

This fits into his Darwinian view of banks, which holds that larger, fitter banks will eventually eliminate smaller, weaker competitors.

Mr. Fredericks, was named the top analyst in the West Coast and regional bank categories in last year's American Banker Analyst of the Year poll. He is reportedly assisting in choosing his replacement.

"There are only a few people who could fill his shoes," said Campbell Chaney, a California bank and thrift analyst in Rodman & Renshaw's San Francisco-area office.

Whoever replaces Mr. Fredericks will likely command a $1 million annual salary, one observer predicted.

Investors also complimented Mr. Fredericks.

"He was a wonderful analyst, one of the best on the sell side," said Ray Garea of Heine Securities. "He has a really good knowledge about things that are emerging in the industry and about future performance."

Mr. Fredericks, who is a senior managing director, joined Montgomery in 1977

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