A well-known investment management consulting firm has hired a former banker to direct its expanding merger-and-acquisition practice.

Peter J. Succoso, formerly a senior vice president at Wilmington Trust Corp., was named a senior consultant in New York for San Francisco-based Spectrem Group. He will report to Spectrem's president, Amy J. Errett.

Spectrem is unit of Tampa-based Payment Systems Inc.

Mr. Succoso oversaw the management of $17 billion of assets as chief investment officer of Wilmington Trust Co. and before that was a trust marketing executive at BankAmerica Corp.

After leaving the Delaware bank in December 1995, he spent most of last year job hunting, he said. He even considered taking a spot running another investment manager, he said - but with the financial services business still consolidating, merger-and-acquisition work had a stronger appeal.

Mr. Succoso, a past president of the Bank Securities Association, said the loosening of regulatory restrictions should spur more deals among broker-dealers, mutual fund companies, investment management firms, banks, and trust companies.

"That could lead to some new types of business combinations among financial services companies," Mr. Succoso said.

Spectrem is best known for consulting with banks and nonbanks on profitability and marketing. The firm, which was acquired by Payment Systems Inc. last year, also supplies competitive analysis.

But until Mr. Succoso's arrival in late 1996, Spectrem limited its merger-and-acquisition advisory work to the corporate trust and record keeping businesses. It now wants to advise on investment management deals as well.

Competitors say Mr. Succoso is the right man to help Spectrem do that.

"He always saw himself as a dealmaker, not a banker," said Peter L. Bain, a principal of Berkshire Capital Corp., an investment banking boutique. Like Mr. Succoso, Mr. Bain has worked for Wilmington Trust.

Mr. Succoso said that in addition to helping companies get into investment management, he will probably spend some time helping some, including banks, get out.

"A fair number of institutions that have tried to get into the investment management business - such as bank proprietary mutual funds - have struggled to grow assets," he said. "At some point they'll decide the business isn't for them."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.