Institutional broker-dealer firm CRT Capital Group is expanding its footprint in the structured products space through its acquisition of Braver Stern's institutional sales and trading platform Wednesday. The combined entity will have the expertise to delve into nonagency residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities, as well as asset-backed CDOs and mortgage-backed pass-through securities. As part of the acquisition and subsequent merger of the broker-dealer platforms, Braver Stern's head of institutional fixed income and trading Joseph Valentine will join CRT as co-head of the securitized products group. In addition, Rus Margolin of Braver Stern is moving to CRT to serve as head of non-agency trading. "CRT continues to be able to use its strong capital base and merit-based culture to attract seasoned talent and expand the securitized products choices it can offer to its institutional clients," said Ron Kripalani, chief executive officer of CRT. "We are excited about the addition of this uniquely qualified team of professionals who bring a wealth of experience and institutional relationships to our platform." Founded in 1991, Braver Stern is known throughout the industry as an independent broker-dealer that services smaller institutional and high net-worth clients. New York-based Braver Stern will continue serving this segment after the transaction is complete. Stamford-based CRT Capital spent the past two decades dealing in institutionally-focused broker-dealer transactions. Write to Kerri Panchuk.