Mercantile Bankshares Corp. of Baltimore has decided that selling hedge funds both to its customers and through other banks in the eastern United States could key expansion beyond its tristate operating area.

"We want to deliberately and intelligently extend our footprint," said John Pileggi, a hedge fund veteran who was hired last week to be president and chief executive officer of two Mercantile investment units — Mercantile Capital Advisors and Hopkins Plaza Securities.

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