Sterne, Agee & Leach timed a big new hire perfectly.

Daryle DiLascia quietly joined Sterne Agee on Nov. 7, just two days after his former employer, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods (KBW), announced plans to sell to Stifel Financial (SF). Sterne Agee in Birmingham, Ala., announced his hiring as head of depository investment banking just this week.

Though DiLascia says his departure from KBW was unrelated to the sale — he left KBW in July after 16 years there, joining Sterne Agee after a four-month noncompete agreement expired — he says that disruptions at small investment banks present his new employer with an opportunity to grab more talent.

"There's a terrific market opportunity over the next several months" to hire from smaller firms, he says. "The merger of Keefe and Stifel is one component of that. Boutiques don't have the scale, and there are a lot of firms in retreat."

Sterne Agee hired DiLascia to focus on small and midsize banks. "They are very capable with fixed-income and balance-sheet management," DiLascia says of Sterne Agee.

"We're going to try and marry that with a stronger focus on capital and strategic alternatives … and hopefully recruit some talented folks," says DiLascia, who will continue to work from New York. "Sterne Agee has a terrific platform and business momentum. It reminds me of when I joined KBW."

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