With the June IPO of FBR Capital Markets (NYSE:FBCM), investors can now get their hands on what's good about FBR without having to expose themselves to the carnage of FBR Group (NYSE:FBR).

If the name FBR Group gives investors bad flashbacks to earlier in the year, when its name was constantly being tossed around with the likes of New Century Financial and NovaStar Financial (NYSE:NFI), it's for good reason. The firm was getting beaten to a pulp by its subprime mortgage exposure, and not a whole lot has changed for FBR. On Thursday, the company announced third-quarter results that showed an after-tax loss of $215 million as it continued to write down its holdings. The company also reported revenue (net of interest expense) that was negative to the tune of $50 million.

FBR Capital Markets, however, is another story. The company is an investment banking and brokerage operation along the lines of Thomas Weisel Partners (NASDAQ:TWPG) or larger competitors like Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). FBRCM's operations include investment banking advisory and capital raising, institutional brokerage services, and asset management.

For the third quarter, which it announced on Wednesday, the firm revealed a slight profit, compared to a $23 million loss in the third quarter of last year. The company benefited in a number of areas during the quarter. Investment banking capital raising was up hugely year over year, largely thanks to four lead-managed transactions that raised a total of $1 billion. The advisory arm more than tripled revenue from the same quarter last year, thanks to 16 closed transactions during the quarter. Meanwhile, commissions from its brokerage and asset management fees showed steady growth. Compared to the first two quarters of this year, the third quarter was notably down on lighter capital raising activity, but the third quarter was also the seasonally slowest for the company last year.

Now that FBR and FBRCM are two separate companies, FBR describes itself as "an investor for the benefit of its shareholders in portfolios of mortgage-related and merchant banking investments" and also the majority shareholder of FBRCM -- not a terribly interesting proposition, given its lousy performance in its mortgage investments. FBRCM, though, could be an interesting company that many investors might have skipped over because of the struggles of its former parent.

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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy has never once been caught with its pants down. Of course, it doesn't actually wear pants ...