When Lee Hayes, Dick Stack and John Dwyer called some 75 U.S. investors -– institutional accounts that include mutual funds and insurers –- early this year they were pleasantly surprised. All of these market players were ready to do business with their little-known brokerage firm, Northeast Securities, which just started its big push into fixed income.

“They are covered by a lot of people but covered by few,” meaning that investors were not able to readily find a market for securities they held, said Hayes, a longtime veteran of the bond market who spent 13 years in institutional sales at Salomon Brothers and, later, rebuilt Lehman Brothers’ municipal bond business for Dick Fuld.

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