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Threat from the bank with no name


    Throw together three technology venture capital firms, three of the largest on-line brokers in the US and a senior investment banker from Merrill Lynch and what do you get? It's what some market observers consider to be the entrant to on-line investment banking that's most likely to succeed, even if it doesn't yet have a name.

Charles Schwab's chief executive, David Pottruck, is the brains behind the operation. Back in June he and his chief strategist, Daniel Leemon, started ringing around to see how much interest there was in setting up yet another investment bank.

It's true the world is awash with such newcomers but several of the firms they contacted saw an opening. Into the consortium came two other on-line brokers: TD Waterhouse (owned by Toronto Dominion Bank) and Ameritrade. They were joined by three venture capital firms: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Trident Capital and Benchmark Capital. The man running the new bank is Scott Ryles, who until last October was a managing director and co-head of technology investment banking for Merrill Lynch.

The three venture capital firms add the real spice to this offering.

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