Wachovia's acquisition of brokerage A.G. Edwards Inc. will give the banking firm more access to wealthy individuals and retirees, Wachovia Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Ken Thompson said today in an interview.

   "We think that we're going to earn a lot of money as these trillions of dollars of intergenerational transfers take place over the next decade," Thompson said on CNBC.

   Earlier today, Wachovia agreed to buy A.G. Edwards in a $6.8 billion deal that will create the second-largest retail brokerage, with $1.1 trillion in client assets.

   Thompson also said that, in addition to doubling the company's size, the deal will boost Wachovia's investment-banking business and strengthen its underwriting efforts.

   On the state of the retail investor and average consumer, Thompson said consumers are optimistic about the economy and more interested in the stock market that in the previous three to four years.

   Wachovia, Charlotte, will pay A.G. Edwards shareholders 0.9844 shares of Wachovia stock and $35.80 cash for each A.G. Edwards share, for a total consideration of $89.50. The deal, expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, represents a 16% premium to A.G. Edwards's closing share price of $77.15.

   The deal makes Wachovia the second-largest retail brokerage in the U.S., after Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., and propelling Wachovia past Citigroup Inc.'s (C) Smith Barney.