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FBR Debuts Online Investment Bank

IPO underwriter Friedman, Billings Ramsey Group, Inc. Thursday launched what it calls the nation's first public online investment bank at FBR.com.

The company said the launch will significantly open initial public offerings (IPOs) and venture capital investment to online investors. Investors will have the opportunity to register to participate in the company's future IPOs.

"We are the first major IPO underwriter to make the individual online investor a major focus of our IPO strategy," said W. Russell Ramsey, FBR president.

"By placing up to 20 percent of all IPO stock allocations in the hands of online investors, Fbr.com is underscoring that the Internet investment market is coming of age. At FBR, we are fundamentally shifting all facets of our business to the online world."

Future plans include the creation of a financial services portal, complete with brokerage services and research, financial news, analytical tools and other related content. The company also said it will make its exclusive venture capital investments and other proprietary financial products available soon on its Web site.

Based in the Arlington, Va., FBR has already made investments in 16 Internet technology firms, including Proxicom, CareerBuilder.com and Network Access Solutions. The company said it will operate a "business incubator" to provide seed investments and other startup assistance to local high-technology entrepreneurs.

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