OAKLAND - Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. announced yesterday the hiring of four professionals in Seattle from Wachovia Securities LLC, highlighted by the father and son team of bankers John Urbina and Geoff Urbina.

The four new hires bring the Siebert Brandford's Seattle presence to seven employees, said chairman Napoleon Brandford 3d.

"In an era of retrenchment, the firm continues to make strategic hires that complement existing operations," he said.

The senior Urbina, John, joins the firm as a senior managing director, and Geoff Urbina joins as a senior vice president of public finance. Also coming over from Wachovia are Ben Pan, as an associate, and Mary Kersbergen, as an analyst.

John Urbina has 33 years of experience as an investment banker, and his relationships are expected to help his new firm expand its regional presence, particularly in Alaska, where his client roster included the Alaska Housing Finance Corp., the municipality of Anchorage, and the North Slope Borough.

"We are excited about joining the Siebert Brandford Shank team and look forward to servicing our existing clients and expanding our practice in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and other market areas," John Urbina said in a statement.

Wachovia Securities was the top-ranked senior manager by volume in Alaska in 2007, according to Thomson Reuters data, though the firm has only been present in the region since 2005, when A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. hired the Urbinas away from George K. Baum & Co. to start a Seattle office.

A.G. Edwards was absorbed into Wachovia as part of a 2007 merger.

Wachovia Securities was also on the top-10 list of underwriters last year in Oregon, where Geoff Urbina's client roster included the Medford School District and the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, according to a news release from Siebert.

Wachovia Corp., the parent of Wachovia Securities, has struggled this year with losses, particularly those stemming from its 2006 acquisition of Golden West Financial, which came with a large portfolio of "pick-a-pay" mortgages that allowed borrowers to choose monthly payments below their accruing interest.

Brandford said his firm is in a position to grow because of its sole focus on fixed-rate municipal bonds.

"We have carefully navigated the pitfalls of auction-rate securities and other financial instruments that are complex in nature that have jeopardized the viability of some of our colleagues," he said.

Last week, the firm announced it had hired three experienced managing directors for its municipal sales and trading department in New York: Stephen Stern, formerly of Bear, Stearns & Co., Tim Muller of Lehman Brothers, and Nicholas Sotell from Rafferty Capital Markets.

"You can expect another round of strategic new hire announcements in the coming months," Brandford said yesterday.

In 2007, Siebert ranked 17th among senior managers nationally, credited with 26 deals for total volume of $3.6 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

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