Raymond James’s acquisition of Regions Financial’s Morgan Keegan brokerage followed months of waiting after intentions to sell the firm were announced in 2011 and could be the first of many similar deals in 2012.

“I think you’re going to see more deals in 2012 coming through in a similar fashion,” Alois Pirker, research director at Boston-based financial services research firm Aite Group, said Wednesday. “It’s going to be a challenging year still ahead of us. I think the mid-sized firms will be subjects for acquisition. I think the firms that are strong can use the position to expand.”

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