Ever since First Union Corp. acquired fixed-income specialists Tattersall Advisory Group last February in order to build up the former's fixed-income business, investors at the asset management company were wary that it would lose its independence under the auspices of such a sprawling banking giant.

"But that hasn't been the case at all," said Robert A. Calhoun, co-director of research at Richmond, Va.-based Tattersall. "We have managed to retain control over our investment process and maintained incentives for employees. Even though the consultant universe generally views banks negatively, so far, the acquisition has played out as advertised - they have pretty much left us alone."

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