CHICAGO - Oakland-based Blaylock Robert Van LLC has hired Dudley Brown, a 30-year veteran of the financial services industry, to manage a Midwestern expansion from its reopened Chicago office, the firm announced this week.

Brown, 56, was previously chief executive officer of Jackson Securities LLC, a business unit of Atlanta Life Financial Group. In a management shake-up last summer, Brown left to pursue other business opportunities and was replaced as CEO by Reuben McDaniel 3d, who was also company president.

Brown was previously chief executive officer and a founder of the institutional broker-dealer Berean Capital Inc., where he worked for 15 years.

A majority African-American-owned firm that pursued Brown, Blaylock hopes to capitalize on his long-standing experience in both the corporate and municipal underwriting businesses to snare a piece of the Midwestern market.

Eric Van Standifer, president of the firm, said in a statement: "Dudley's long-standing and exceptional track record in the Chicago area will allow us to expand our meaningful presence and take advantage of the many progressive opportunities available for minority-owned firms. We expect the Midwest region will contribute significantly to our growth in the next few years."

Chicago and its related issuers are considered among the most progressive nationally in seeking to include minority- and women-owned firms on bond deals. The city seeks to give at least 25% of its bond business to minority-owned firms and 5% to women-owned firms.

The former Blaylock & Co. previously had an office in Chicago, but it was closed after public finance banker Stephanie Neely was named city treasurer by Mayor Richard Daley in 2006. Blaylock, an investment banking firm, was acquired by Robert Van Securities Inc., a full-service financial services firm, last year. The firm also has a New York office.

Brown, who has established relationships with citywide issuers that did business with Jackson, said he is excited about leading the firm's Midwest expansion.

On the corporate side, Brown said the firm "adds true value" because of its proprietary research products, and on the public finance side he believes a strong selling point will be the firm's distribution capabilities.

"We will bring a broader breadth of distribution with middle and lower-tier buyers," he said.

Blaylock Robert Van has not served as a senior manager on any bond deals to date, but was a co-manager for two California Department of Water Resources issues in March and April and is credited with $80.4 million from both, according to statistics from Thomson Reuters.

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