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January 1, 2000

Stifel Nicolaus Agreement To Acquire St. Louis Shop

By Peter Chapman

Two regional equity trading desks could soon be joining forces if an acquisition is completed.

Denver's Hanifen Imhoff would be acquired by Stifel Nicolaus of St. Louis under an agreement among executives at both regionals.

The plan calls for the firms to combine their equity trading desks. At press time, shareholders were preparing to vote on the plan.


Hanifen is an institutional shop which trades some 70 stocks. The firm has three market makers and four sales traders.

Stifel is primarily a retail brokerage and trades 200 issues with four position and three agency traders.

Stifel's proposed acquisition of Hanifen would boost its small institutional operation.

The plan follows on the heels of a major defection of Stifel's head trader and about seven other equity personnel to Huntleigh Securities, a small broker dealer in St. Louis.

A trader at Hanifen would not comment on the deal or the firm's financial situation. But trade volume reported to AutEx BlockData shows a slowdown in activity in recent years.


Volume averaged about 75 million shares yearly from 1994 to 1998. The average for the first 10 months of 1999 was three million shares a month, putting Hanifen on course to report a lower annual yearly volume than in previous years.

"We realize that the market has changed and we've got to adapt to the changes," Hanifen's founder Walt Imhof told a local newspaper.