D.A. Davidson & Co. has hired the financial team of Morton Clarke, a broker-dealer and registered investment advisor that is closing its doors.

The seven remaining investment professionals, including financial advisors, of Morton Clarke, which has focused on fixed income and private client portfolio management, will join D.A. Davidson's Individual Investor and Fixed Income Capital Markets divisions in late February and work from the company's offices in downtown Seattle. The move boosts Davidson's Seattle headcount by about 10 percent, and will close out business for a small broker-dealer that had specialized in municipal bond deals and managing high-net-worth client assets for 17 years.

The arrangement is not an outright acquisition of interests or shares in Morton Clarke's assets and books of business. Seattle-based Morton Clarke is winding down and its legal entity will retain its liability and assets. Nor will D.A. Davidson take on its bond inventory, officials said.

D.A. Davidson executives praised the deal, saying the two companies' strengths will complement one another.

"This is a 'best-of-both-worlds' scenario," said Rick Turnage, senior vice president and sales manager for D.A. Davidson's Fixed Income Capital Markets Group. "We have no doubt that bringing Morton Clarke together with our team is absolutely the right thing for all of us."

Brock Loen, senior vice president and Seattle branch manager for D.A. Davidson, called the deal "a significant addition" to both Davidson's individual and institutional lines of business. "This is a very meaningful move," he said. "Morton Clarke brings an intimate knowledge of the municipal market and they are very good at it."

D.A. Davidson is an employee-owned firm that offers a full range of financial advice, services and products. It is also part of Davidson Companies, a financial services holding company with an estimated 1,100 employees working out of 16 states.

Morton Clarke was founded in 1995 by John Morton, a managing director, and Steve Clarke, a senior vice president, who left Kidder Peabody & Co. to form the company. Dually registered, Morton Clarke has provided management of both fixed income and equities.

D.A. Davidson, says Loen, will provide the Morton Clarke team "an ease in conducting business because we're a self clearing broker-dealer; and they may also get some benefit from the trading we do in a very substantial fixed-income business."

Loen says Morton Clarke executives can also tap into Davidson's equity research and planning resources.

Joining D.A. Davidson in February are: John Morton, senior vice president, financial consultant -- Individual Investor Group; Trent Morton, senior vice president, financial consultant -- Individual Investor Group; Scott Hitchcock, senior registered associate -- Individual Investor Group; Stephen Clarke, senior vice president, Institutional Sales -- Fixed Income Capital Markets; Mary Sue Brenner, vice president, Institutional Sales -- Fixed Income Capital Markets; Nolan LaFrombois, Institutional Sales -- Fixed Income Capital Markets; and Patricia Hurd, senior registered sales associate -- Fixed Income Capital Markets.

In addition, Audrey Morton will join D.A. Davidson on Jan. 27 as a financial consultant trainee in the Individual Investor Group.

-Jim McConville