Frank Quattrone, the controversial financier who rose to stardom during the dot-com boom in the 1990's has announced his long-awaited return to finance with the formation of a new advisory firm.

The firm, Qatalyst Group, will be based in San Francisco. It will provide advice on mergers and acquisitions, while its investment arm will take direct stakes in businesses.

The launch is an important development for the technology industry, said Google's CEO Eric Schmidt, adding that he personally look[ed] forward to working with him again.

Quattrone built his reputation as head of technology banking at Morgan Stanley, before moving with much of his team first to Deutsche Bank and later to Credit Suisse at the height of the tech boom.

Through the course of his 23 year career, Quattrone raised more than $65 billion in capital for technology companies in 175 IPOs. He was also associated with a number of ground-breaking startups, like the launch of Netscape, Amazon and Cisco.

The high-flying banker's career was derailed, however, after being charged with obstruction of justice, citing an email he sent 2000 suggesting that colleagues clean up those files, allegedly after he learned of the federal investigation. Quattrone maintained that he was simply following the firm's document retention policy.

After his first trial resulted in a hung jury, the second led to a conviction that was later overturned. Quattrone eventually reached a deferred prosecution agreement to avoid a third trial.

The founders of the new firm will include Brian Slingerland from Goldman Sachs, and Jonathan Turner and Adrian Dollars, both from Credit Suisse.

The comments echo a persistent refrain heard in the Valley in the five years since Mr Quattrone was forced to step aside to battle Federal charges, and signal vindication for a man who was thought locally to have been made a scapegoat for the excesses of the dotcom years.