NEW YORK - "Remorse and disgrace" rather than "hubris" is what is driving the investment management M&A business, Donald Putnam, CEO and managing director of Putnam Lovell NBF Securities, told executives gathered for The Money Management Institute's annual convention here.

Divestiture rather than acquisition is likely to continue as the prime driver for M&As, few as they are, Putnam said. Coming off an average of 80 to 100 transactions a year in the late 1990s, there were only 14 transactions averaging $31 billion in 2001, and a mere five in 2002, with $9 billion being the top price, for the Deutsche/Fleming deal, Putnam said.

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