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Bank M&A Star Lurie Returns To Street At Guggenheim Partners

By Liz Moyer Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Herbert Lurie, who led many of the mega bank mergers of the 1990s as head of the financial institutions advisory practice at Merrill Lynch & Co., recently joined Guggenheim Partners as that firm works to raise its profile on Wall Street. Lurie is joining senior banker ranks that also include former Bear Stearns Cos. Chief Executive Alan Schwartz, a longtime adviser to the media and telecommunications sector who joined Guggenheim as executive chairman in mid-2009. Thomas Chen, former head of financial institutions banking for Piper Jaffray Cos. (PJC), joined Guggenheim earlier this year. Privately held Guggenheim, run by Chief Executive Mark Walter, has been expanding as much larger Wall Street rivals shrink in response to new regulations. Separate from its banking and capital markets group, Guggenheim is setting up a proprietary trading business and has committed $500 million of capital to it, with a goal of increasing that to $2 billion over time. Guggenheim Global Trading recently hired seven senior executives and is prepared to open for business in the fall. Merrill's financial institutions group was the top adviser to major U.S. banks during a huge wave of consolidation in the 1990s and as such had the highest profile within the investment bank. Former heads of the group went on to bigger roles, including Jeffrey Peek, who became chief executive of CIT Group (CIT), and Gregory Fleming, who was president of Merrill and now is president of Morgan Stanley's (MS) wealth and asset management units. Lurie, a lawyer by background, helped found the financial institutions group at Merrill and was among its most sought-after rainmakers. During a single week in 1998, he advised on deals worth more than $115 billion, including Bank One Corp.'s merger with First Chicago Corp., and NationsBank Corp.'s merger with BankAmerica Corp. to form Bank of America (BAC), the company that now also owns Merrill Lynch. He retired from Merrill at age 41 in 2001 and stepped away from the banking industry. Before joining Merrill, he was a merger attorney at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. -By Liz Moyer, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2512;

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