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February 1, 2000

Silenced' Analyst and Trader Form Institutional Brokerage

By Sanford Wexler

Sean Ryan, a former Bear Stearns & Co. banking analyst, and Daniel Byrne, who ran the trading desk at Keefe Bruette & Woods, have teamed up to launch a new institutional brokerage in listed stocks.

Byrne, Ryan & Co., which is setting up shop in White Plains, N.Y., with six employees, is slated to begin trading in mid-February.

The firm is touting its "unbiased," fundamental research information on financial stocks. "We don't have any of the investment banking or other business conflicts that have increasingly weighed on mainstream Wall Street research," said Ryan, president of Byrne Ryan.

Last year, Ryan, who was then with Bear Stearns, issued a critical assessment of First Union, the sixth-largest U.S. bank. He questioned whether the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank could remain as an independent company. Over the past year, First Union's share price has dropped 50 percent.

Soon after making his remarks, which were widely quoted, Ryan reportedly was forbidden by Bear Stearns from speaking for publication. First Union was an investment banking client of Bear Stearns. "Unpleasant truths are simply not welcome when they can alienate trading partners or investment banking clients," Ryan told Traders Magazine.

Russell Sherman, a spokesman for Bear Stearns, said Ryan was instructed to clear all media contact through the firm's corporate communications department. However, Ryan was not barred from talking to the press, Sherman added.

Byrne Ryan's trading desk is headed up by Daniel Byrne and three other traders. In return for providing "unbiased" and "unencumbered" research to their institutional clients, Byrne Ryan hopes it will help it receive some of the buyside's trading commissions.