Vector Securities International Inc., formed nearly six yearsago as an institutional research and banking house, is nowproviding its own over-the-counter trading in biotechnologyand health-care stocks.

Most specialty investment firms begin by attempting to doeverything, rather than add new services in a step-by-stepfashion, Jeffery Holmes, vice president of institutional sales forVector, told BioWorld. "We wanted to walk before we ran."

The 35 stocks in which the group is initially making a market,which trade under the symbol VECT, have been followed overthe years by the research staff.

"We wanted to establish strong research and relationships withinstitutions before we started trading," Holmes said.

"We've been a dominant player in the IPO (initial publicoffering) secondary offering marketplace," he added, "and wehope with the trading group we can lead-manage offerings. Itshould be tremendous for the other (investment banking) sideof the business."

Dennis McNichol and Marc Sokol have joined the firm as vicepresident and assistant vice president, respectively, of over-the-counter (OTC) trading. The group began buying and sellingfor institutional investors this week. "We've committed aconsiderable amount of capital to the trading desk," Holmessaid, and the firm hopes to handle a large volume of life sciencestocks.

Besides handling a majority of biotechnology stocks, the groupalso plans to add stocks from the health-care service sector,where health reform has spurred growth and excitement, aswell as "lots of winners and losers," Holmes said.

He said institutional clients "want reasons" to buybiotechnology stocks again, with value players poised for goodnews.

"All eyes are on Chiron's Betaseron (for multiple sclerosis),which hopefully will receive approval in the next few weeks,"he said. "I think money will move back in the sector on goodnews."

Founded in 1987 by research and investment bankingexecutives from Kidder Peabody Co., the Chicago firm has beentrading for institutional investors for three years through BearStearns. McNichol has more than 20 years of experience inNASDAQ trading from Chicago Corp., where he was head of thetrading desk. Sokol worked for 10 years at Chicago Corp.

-- Nancy Garcia Associate Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.

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