AXA to Acquire MONY for $1.5B in Cash: Financial services giant AXA Financial Inc. has signed a deal to acquire The MONY Group Inc. for roughly $1.5 billion in cash.

Under the terms of the agreement, MONY shareholders will receive $31 per share of MONY common stock. The transaction, which is subject to MONY shareholder and regulatory approval, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2004.

AXA said that the deal would increase its retail insurance and annuity distribution reach by almost 25 percent, provide additional outlets for products, and increase its presence in geographic markets where the firm is currently under-represented. The MONY Group Inc. has $55 billion in assets under management and administration.

AXA, which has about $458 billion in assets under management, said that the move would also enhance its wholesale distribution platform, particularly in life insurance products. As part of the deal, AXA picks up MONY’s Advest, a regional full-service brokerage firm that serves high-income and high-net-worth clients.

PFPC Deepens Foothold in Managed Accounts With ADVISORport Acquisition: PFPC Worldwide Inc., a leading provider of mutual fund wrap services and a member of The PNC Financial Services Group Inc., is strengthening its foothold in the separately managed account arena with the acquisition of Web-based managed account provider Advisorport.

Advisorport, which services 40,000 accounts representing over $13 billion for 100 clients, will become part of PFPC’s managed account services business unit, which provides technology and managed account services to enterprise sponsors, registered investment advisors and money managers. The deal was slated to close in mid-October. Terms were not disclosed.

PFPC’s managed account services will retain the Advisorport brand name for its managed account technology platform.

Vest to Roll Out New Software Tools for Reps: Irving, Texas-based broker/dealer H.D. Vest plans to unveil three new software tools for its reps at its national conference this month in Dallas.

The firm will roll out a trading tool that will enable reps to trade stocks, bonds and mutual funds electronically; an account wizard that will enable them to open new brokerage accounts electronically; and a trade management tool that will allow reps to build model portfolios, submit trades and rebalance portfolios electronically.

“With the client’s permission, the advisor can push a button to rebalance the portfolio to whatever tolerance ranges they’ve set in the portfolio,” president Roger Ochs said.

The software tools will be available for use after Nov. 15, when the firm will complete the anticipated conversion of its clearing to Wells Fargo from National Financial, a move it announced in May at its Vest Fest annual meeting. Vest became a non-bank subsidiary of Wells Fargo last year.

“The change in the clearing doesn’t impact [advisors] at all,” Ochs said. “Advisors don’t have to do anything, unless a client has an option or margin account. Then they have to collect the paperwork from the client for a new account application.”

The firm has already sent out letters notifying clients who have brokerage accounts with Vest. In announcing the change in clearing, Vest said that it will wave the custodial fee for client IRA accounts over $100,000, and that it will wave the ticket charge for purchases over $10,000.

NFP Debuts on the Big Board: National Financial Partners Corp., the financial services firm run by Jessica M. Bibliowicz - daughter of Citigroup chairman Sanford Weill - made its debut on the Big Board. The firm, which trades under the symbol “NFP,” received a warm welcome from investors when it began trading on the New York Stock Exchange last month. In its first day of trading, shares climbed well above the initial public offering price of $23.00 per share.

The New York-based network of financial planning firms has over 1,300 producers from its 132 owned firms and 180 third-party distributors.

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