Ryan Beck Files for IPO

The BankAtlantic unit hopes to raise $100 million.
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New Jersey-based

Ryan Beck

is the latest U.S. brokerage that wants its own public listing.

The brokerage's parent,

BankAtlantic Bancorp

(BBX) - Get Report

, filed a registration statement Monday with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

saying Ryan Beck will sell shares to the public in an expected $100 million IPO.

Proceeds will be used as working capital by Ryan Beck and to pay off some of the debt incurred by Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based BankAtlantic in operating the brokerage. The filing does not say how many shares will be sold. The stock will trade under the ticker "RBCO."

The IPO will provide an opportunity for BankAtlantic, which currently owns virtually all of Ryan Beck's shares, to cash-out on a portion of its investment in the brokerage. BankAtlantic acquired Ryan Beck in 1998. Since that deal, the bank and the brokerage largely have operated as separate entities.

Ryan Beck, with 1,100 employees, has offices in 14 states. Last year the firm earned $16.7 million on revenues of $253 million. The brokerage has been profitable in each of the past three years.

The Ryan Beck IPO, which is being led by

J.P. Morgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

and Ryan Beck, is the latest in a string of brokerage stock offerings the past two years.

In February, San Francisco-based

Thomas Weisel

(TWPG)

raised $90 million in an IPO. The stock, which was priced at $15 a share, has been a big hit on Wall Street, rising 40% to $21. Shares of Thomas Weisel have surged even though the brokerage has had an erratic financial history and lost $14.2 million in the first nine months of 2005.

Last month,

Cowen Group

, the investment banking arm of the French bank Societe Generale, filed a registration statement for a $100 million IPO. And last May,

Lazard

(LAZ) - Get Report

, the 158-year-old investment bank, raised $855 million. The Lazard IPO was the biggest stock deal by a Wall Street firm since

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

went public in 1999.

Most of the investment firms that have gone public during the past two years have performed well once they've gotten out of the gate. The big exception, of course, is last August's $583 million IPO by

Refco

(RFXCQ)

. The New York-based commodities and derivatives brokerage crashed and burned in an accounting scandal just three months after it went public.