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UPDATE: Janney plans M&A buys; Wantrobski to head research

Dan Wantrobski replaces Janney's past research chief, Andrew M. Maddaloni, who was promoted to head of equities in April.

Janney Montgomery Scott LLC corporate headquarters in Three Logan Square.
Janney Montgomery Scott LLC corporate headquarters in Three Logan Square.Read moreGOOGLE

Updates with comment from Janney's new research director.

Dan Wantrobski has returned to Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, the Philadelphia investment bank and brokerage owned by Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., to serve as the firm's director of research.

Wantrobski, of Moorestown, replaces Janney's past research chief, Andrew M. Maddaloni, who was promoted to head of equities in April. Wantrobski now reports to Maddaloni. "We're thrilled to welcome Dan back to Janney in an expanded capacity," Maddaloni said in a statement. Wantrobski will also resume publishing technical-strategy reports on stocks and sectors.

Wantrobski, until early last year, had served as Janney's Technical Strategist. At that time, he joined New Albion Partners, an institutional investment firm, as chief technical strategist. Before Janney, he worked at Fox Pitt Kelton, Bedford Quantitative, Paine Webber, and UBS.

He takes over a staff that now numbers 14 report-publishing research analysts and 14 additional research staff. Wantrobski says Janney analysts are covering 74 financial-services companies, 61 health-care companies, 55 infrastructure-related companies and 48 real estate-related companies, for a total of 240. The firm expects to expand coverage to a total of 275 stocks by December.

UPDATE: "These sectors present investors with an important need for objective analysis and coverage as the Trump Administration tries to move forward on its campaign promises," Wantrobski told me in an email. "These are all capital intensive sectors. We feel we've got a good mix of market cap, income, and growth."

Unlike the sell-side analysts whose recommendations were used to help pitch stocks in the 1990s — "maintenance research," Wantrobski calls that — the Janney department now focuses on "providing high quality and unique corporate access to the buy side."

Adds Joe Culley, head of capital markets at Janney: "We added three managing directors in the real estate vertical in 2016. Our plan is to add two to three managing directors per year, staying focused in our four core industry verticals.

"We're also pursuing acquisitions of boutique M&A firms within our East Coast corporate geographic footprint."

Research departments, at Janney and elsewhere, have a history of turnover every few years. The current staff hasn't changed over the past year, management tells me. "We are focused on talent retention, promotion from within, building a diverse and inclusive workforce" based on the "Janney Values," and boosting market share, as supported by Penn Mutual, Culley added. That private ownership, plus "our size, scale, reputation, and balance sheet, allow us to take a long term approach to the business." He notes there have been mergers and cutbacks at other midmarket research departments "in the past 18 months — CSLA, Sterne Agee, CRT, BB&T, FBR, Wunderlich, Topeka, Avondale, Brean Capital," and others. The current Jannay analyst array, he says is better built to last: "We are a strong counterparty to the institutional buy side community. We self-clear, can short-settle, use capital to facilitate client order flow, and have strong regulatory relationships."

The firm remains, by far, the largest brokerage still based in the city that gave birth to Smith & Barney and the U.S. private and government bond-sales industry. What's good for Janney, bankers inside and outside the firm tell me, is good for Philadelphia.