CHICAGO - Its hiring spree continuing, St. Louis-based Stern Brothers & Co. announced late last week that the father-son institutional sales team of Thomas and John Shapiro joined the firm to open a second Chicago-area office while Benjamin Forrest joined the firm as an investment banking analyst in Los Angeles.

The Shapiros joined as vice presidents. They will open an office for the firm in south Chicago. The firm currently operates an office in downtown Chicago. Thomas Shapiro, a 40-year veteran of the financial industry, previously worked at the former A.G. Edwards & Sons, now Wachovia Securities LLC, where he spent 13 years as the director of institutional municipal sales covering top tier accounts in the Midwest and East Coast.

His son, John Shapiro, has worked in institutional sales for 10 years. Most recently, he too worked for the former A.G. Edwards, "where he was consistently a top five producer within the firm's municipal platform," a Stern Brothers statement read.

Forrest joined the firm's Los Angeles office as an analyst with the firm's project and facilities finance team. "He assists in securing capital for industrial development and real estate secured transactions through a combination of tax-exempt and taxable bond financing," a statement read.

Forrest most recently worked at Enterprise Rent-a-Car Co. on corporate accounts and business relationship development. Forrest is the son of prominent St. Louis public finance professional Charles T. Forrest, who had managed fixed-income trading at the former A.G. Edwards until he left in 2005.

Stern Brothers has doubled in size over the last 18 months as it launched a hiring spree. In recent months, the firm announced hiring Marvin Anderson as a senior vice president, veteran trader David Hubeli, new chief compliance officer Mark Witte, public finance airport infrastructure specialist Terri Smalinsky, and analyst Brian Tournier.

"Our business continues to grow as a result of the professionals that we have hand-selected and brought on board," Kimberly Brandt, a company spokeswoman, said in a recent statement.

In addition to its St. Louis headquarters, the 91-year-old brokerage firm has offices in Kansas City, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, and Tampa. Stern Brothers ranked 75th last year among senior managers on all bond issues totaling $260 million in 25 sales, compared to a ranking of 53d a year earlier. It ranked fifth in its home state of Missouri as a senior manager, with four deals totaling $140 million for the first half of the year. The firm ranked 22d last year in Missouri.

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