NationsBanc Montgomery Securities shined a spotlight last week on a New York-based equity derivatives group that it has been quietly building over the last year.

The unit, which is BankAmerica Corp.'s section 20 subsidiary, appointed its own equity derivatives chief to the seven-member executive committee of its Montgomery division. That division handles equities and mergers advisory.

Jonathan Sandelman, senior managing director in charge of derivatives and convertibles, joined NationsBanc Montgomery in December from Salomon Smith Barney. In a little less than a year he has hired about 80 derivatives professionals, many from Salomon, where he was a managing director, and from 10 other Wall Street firms.

"I made a commitment to the bank coming in that I was not going to raid any one particular firm," he said.

Since Montgomery's parent, NationsBank Corp., merged with BankAmerica Corp. in September, Mr. Sandelman has assumed control of a global equity derivatives group that BankAmerica had in London.

The London group sells both fixed-income and derivatives products, but Mr. Sandelman said the bank may reorganize the sales force along specialized lines.

"When I came here there was already an incredible opportunity to sell these products to the bank's institutional customers and private client business," Mr. Sandelman said.

"The merger has just given us an enormous footprint to reach more people who would like to use risk-management products," he said.

Mr. Sandelman plans to increase the equity derivatives and convertibles staff, and expects those hires to be in New York, where he works. The new BankAmerica is based in Charlotte, N.C.

In addition to these two product lines, Mr. Sandelman will assume responsibility for Montgomery's prime brokerage, clearing services, and stock loan capabilities.

He said his committee appointment was not negotiated when he was hired last year. And he is not replacing one of the two executive committee members who left Montgomery in September.

"As the bank invests in new product lines, the leaders that build and run those businesses will be promoted to the committee," Mr. Sandelman said, leaving open the possibility that Montgomery's executive committee could grow beyond its usual seven members.

But Mr. Sandelman's appointment and the high profile it gives to his derivatives group is a sign of how much Montgomery has changed since it was sold to NationsBank Corp. last year. The old Montgomery Securities was a San Francisco-based firm that focused on bringing Silicon Valley high-tech firms public.

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