Wells Fargo ( WFC) on Monday said it is expanding its securities business, as reported by TheStreet.com last week.

The bank will combine investment banking and capital markets businesses formerly operating under the Wachovia Securities and certain Wells Fargo brands under the brand Wells Fargo Securities, the company said in a statement early Monday. TheStreet.com first reported the planned move on Thursday.

Wells will consolidate debt and equity underwriting, mergers and acquisitions, loan syndications, debt and equity sales and trading, tax-exempt products, research and economics, and certain hedging products such as equity derivatives under the new unit. Barrington Associates, Wells Fargo's middle market M&A advisory division, will come under the Wells Fargo Securities umbrella and Eastdil Secured, Wells Fargo's provider of real estate capital markets services, will offer securities products through the unit. Eastdil will continue to operate under its existing name.

"We have an enormous opportunity to become one of the top customer-focused investment banks in the country by focusing on the basics and on those businesses that directly serve our customers," Wells Fargo President and CEO John Stumpf said in a statement. "Clearly one of the great benefits of the Wachovia merger was the strong investment banking and capital markets platform that we gained. We plan to build on those strengths to grow and invest in the business as we continue to satisfy all of our customers' financial needs."

The foray into investment banking will pit Wells, known for its staid consumer banking business, against rivals such as JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Citigroup ( C).

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