A group of former officials from the old brokerage firm E.F. Hutton & Co. plan to start a new boutique financial-advisory firm under the same name.
The group, led by former E.F. Hutton and Smith Barney manager Frank Campanale, plans to announce Monday that it will launch the firm in coming weeks with the hiring of financial advisers and others, according to Campanale.
The launch could bring some new buzz to a name that hasn't been in wide circulation since the 1980s. Then, it was well known for its advertising slogan, "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen."
For years, the name was tucked away at a unit of Citigroup Inc., a long-lost legacy from a business Sanford I. Weill acquired as he was building up what became Travelers Group. E.F. Hutton later became part of Smith Barney, which is now part of a joint venture owned by Morgan Stanley and Citigroup.
The revival of an old name is somewhat unusual on Wall Street, where monikers like PaineWebber generally are reserved for the history books.
It is unclear whether the new company will be able to build a business around the name. But the new company is making a bet that this blast from the past might hold appeal.
The E.F. Hutton name has a "certain legacy and heritage" and wasn't one of the firms "tarnished during the financial crisis," said Alois Pirker, a research director at Aite Group who focuses on the wealth-management industry.
Campanale said he has been working to acquire rights to the brand name for about five years, but it still was being used by a small part of Citigroup when he first tried. Campanale said the name became available in recent years, and he is confident he will be allowed to use it to start the new business.
A Citigroup spokeswoman declined to comment. A spokesman for Morgan Stanley couldn't be reached.
"We recognize a huge hole here that was never really filled," said Campanale, who most recently worked as an executive at brokerage firm First Allied Securities of Birmingham, Mich. He worked at Smith Barney through 2004, serving as president and CEO of the firm's consulting group.
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's website, the name E.F. Hutton was registered as of April 12 by Dominant Brands LLC, which is affiliated with the new company, according to Campanale and Christopher Daniels, a former E.F. Hutton banker who is working on the new venture. There was an earlier application for ownership by Retriever Brands of Moorestown, N.J., but it was abandoned in April 2011, according to the website.
E.F. Hutton was founded in 1904. By the 1980s, it was one of the largest brokerage firms, with 19,000 employees.
But a scandal over check-kiting, involving check-writing to obtain money from hundreds of banks without paying interest, and the 1987 stock-market crash weighed heavily on the firm.
In late 1987, it agreed to be sold to Shearson Lehman Brothers Holdings for about $1 billion.
This story first appeared on WSJ.com
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