Thursday, June 15, 2006

BMO Nesbitt Burns & Harris Nesbitt become BMO Capital Markets

Canadian Press, 15 June 2006

After 94 years, the name of A. J. Nesbitt is being scaled back in the Canadian securities business.

Bank of Montreal announced Thursday that its investment and corporate banking businesses, BMO Nesbitt Burns and Harris Nesbitt, are being renamed BMO Capital Markets.

The change signifies the bank's "commitment to provide a full range of capabilities to clients in North America and other key international markets," BMO stated.

The BMO Nesbitt Burns name will live on as the brand for the bank's private client group in Canada and will continue to be used by the firm's 1,300 investment advisers.

Arthur James Nesbitt was a young salesman when he was hired by Max Aitken, later Lord Beaverbrook, to open a Montreal branch of Aitken's Royal Securities. Nesbitt quit Royal Securities in 1912 to form his own firm, Nesbitt Thomson, with P. A. Thomson, whom he had met when they were both door-to-door salesmen in the Maritimes, Nesbitt selling dry goods and Thomson pushing pickles.

Nesbitt Thomson grew through the decades - among its offshoots was Power Corp. of Canada, formed in 1925 with Nesbitt as president - and the firm was acquired by BMO in 1987.

Harris Nesbitt, which has more than 1,000 employees in 10 U.S. cities, grew out of the Toronto-based bank's 1984 acquisition of Harris Bank of Chicago.

"This name change represents the significant lending power, global trading proficiency and innovative investment banking expertise that have long been associated with BMO Financial Group, and communicates the firm's ability to deliver the full suite of wholesale products and services that define a leading universal investment bank," stated Yvan Bourdeau, CEO of BMO Capital Markets.

BMO Capital Markets will have about 2,200 employees in 26 cities around the world.

While the Nesbitt Burns name remains with the Canadian investment advisory business, the Harris name continues as the brand for BMO's U.S. retail and private banking operations.

BMO Capital Markets, with revenue in the past year of $2.74 billion and earnings of $853 million, has about 70 equity and debt research analysts.

The name change will be supported by a multimedia advertising campaign that "targets the c-suite executives of public and private companies" with the tagline: Ambition, meet execution.

"We are leveraging our renaming as an opportunity to dramatically increase our brand exposure, particularly in the U.S.," said Martha Durdin, director of marketing for BMO Capital Markets.