Frontline – September 2008

FRONTLINE 2008-09-01 Staff Writer <b>Richard Fleischman taps ex-Merrill pro</b><br /> New York-based information technology services provider Richard Fleischman Associates (RFA) has nabbed a former Merrill Lynch IT manager as director of client consulting, a new position. Julian Croxall jo

Richard Fleischman taps ex-Merrill pro
New York-based information technology services provider Richard Fleischman Associates (RFA) has nabbed a former Merrill Lynch IT manager as director of client consulting, a new position. Julian Croxall joins the firm as an advisor to private equity firms and hedge funds, after 18 years at Merrill. Croxall will direct the operation of a virtual CTO client consultancy in addition to developing new products and service offerings for RFA’s technology and business development teams. He will also focus on business processes and strategic development for RFA. At Merill, he held a senior technology management position in New York where he directed technology for three multi-billion dollar hedge fund startups and a fund administrator, as well as Merrill Lynch’s proprietary acquisitions, mergers, investments and divestitures. Croxall previously worked at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston in technology management positions. In addition to its Midtown Manhattan location, RFA has an office – housing its data operations – in Purchase, NY.

Noble goes west
Noble Group, the research-led independent investment bank with offices in Edinburgh and London, has opened a US subsidiary, Noble Corporate Advisory, in Houston, Texas. President of Noble Corporate Advisory will be Mark Froggatt, previously director of Noble in London with responsibility for Natural Resources and Energy. Mark Froggatt said: “We have seen a growing pipeline of US businesses wanting to raise funds in the UK, particularly in oil & gas, and over the course of the last two years, our London team has been busy advising and raising funds for a significant number of cross-border transactions originating both in the US and Canada. It therefore makes sense for us to establish a presence on the ground to build and manage our client relationships and we look forward to expanding our business across a range of sectors, but particularly in oil and gas and life sciences.”

JonesTrading’s new Capital Markets Group surpasses $500m in block trades
Last October, JonesTrading Institutional Services launched a Capital Markets Group, which focuses on providing agency trading services to private equity and venture capital firms. The Capital Markets Group enables private equity and venture capital firms to exit large positions in their publicly traded portfolio companies and also helps firms build new public positions or add to existing positions. Since its launch, Jones says it has completed over $500 million worth of block trades on behalf of private equity and venture capital firms. The JonesTrading Capital Markets Group now includes four of the largest global private equity firms in its rapidly growing client base. Said Kevin Callahan, head of investment banking at JonesTrading: “As the stock market declined in the first quarter, we saw a degree of buying interest on the part of private equity and venture capital firms in companies they had previously taken public and had largely exited. Private equity and venture capital sponsors know these companies, and when they witnessed price declines, some of them sought to rebuild positions, and they were able to do so quietly through JonesTrading.” Said Schlomo Cohen, head of capital markets at JonesTrading: “Private equity and venture capital firms are realizing there is a robust agency market for exiting large block positions. In many cases, the firm can exit a large position with little to no discount to the prevailing market price. As full-service brokers become less willing to deploy risk capital, we believe that the agency model will continue to flourish.”

Fulcrum and Butterfield to merge
Fulcrum Group, a global administrator for hedge funds and the alternative asset management industry, has agreed to merge with investment/pension fund administrator Butterfield Fund Services. The transaction is backed by private equity firm 3i. The combined entity will be known as Butterfield Fulcrum Group, and will have close to $100 billion in assets under management on behalf of nearly 1,000 hedge funds, funds of funds, private equity and institutional investment management clients. Butterfield will retain a substantial equity stake and 3i, an existing shareholder in Fulcrum Group, will own a majority interest in Butterfield Fulcrum Group. Akshaya Bhargava, chief executive officer of Fulcrum Group, will become the chief executive officer of BFG and Jill Considine, current chairman of the Fulcrum Group, will be the chairman of the BFG Board. Alan Thompson, President and chief executive officer of butterfield, and Graham Brooks, executive vice president, international, at Butterfield will also join the BFG Board, along with other representatives from Fulcrum and 3i.

PFK nabs GE Commercial Finance manager
PKF Accountants has expanded its commercial finance brokerage, Funding Solutions, with the appointment of Brian Burke. He joins from GE Commercial Finance where he was regional manager for the southeast. Burke will work with businesses across a broad range of industry sectors and disciplines that require finance and seeks to secure new, additional or replacement funding from lenders most suited to meet each particular requirement. Burke said, “Access to finance is especially critical given the current business climate and Funding Solutions addresses the need for a trusted, professional and independent advisor to help businesses find lenders with the ability to deliver the facilities they require. PKF’s reputation and strong links with the business community as well as its relationships with commercial banking, specialist finance and independent lenders, places it in a strong position to be able to meet clients’ needs.”

Baker Tilly tracks greater M&A presence
UK-based Baker Tilly bolstered its M&A advisory capacity with the hire of Mark Tooth in July. The accounting and consulting firm grew its M&A group specifically to cover more thoroughly the Southern Region in the UK. Tooth, an eight-year corporate finance professional, joined from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts portfolio company Alliance Boots, a health products retailer and pharmaceutical wholesaler. Tooth was head of Alliance’s corporate accounting division working on the company’s purchase by the management-led buyout group. Baker Tilly has also appointed Michael Flaherty as a senior manager in its Southern Region Private Client Group. Flaherty is returning to the UK after seven years abroad working as an offshore tax specialist for HSBC and Royal Bank of Canada.

TAXAND adds Greenwoods, Freehills
Tax advisory TAXAND has added two independent firms to its global network: Australia’s Greenwoods & Freehills, which was recently merged with Shaddick & Spence, and Ireland’s William Fry. “The first global network of leading tax advisors now brings together independent firms in 45 countries giving multinational clients access to over 2,000 tax professionals across the world,” TAXAND said in a statement. Frédéric Donnedieu de Vabres, chairman of TAXAND, said: “As our reputation has increased, we are being approached regularly by independent firms wanting to join TAXAND. With one exclusive member firm per country, making the right choice of firm is important for our multinational clients and for our tax advisors alike. Greenwoods and Freehills and William Fry offer best-in-class tax advice and the quality of people we expect at TAXAND. Moreover, by adding Ireland and confirming Australia, TAXAND is more capable than ever to deliver high quality, integrated global tax advisory services.”

JPMorgan PEFS sets up in Jersey
JPMorgan Private Equity Fund Services, as part of its international expansion efforts, has established a presence in Jersey in the Channel Islands to service existing and new offshore clients. The Jersey operation will provide fund administration for private equity, real estate and infrastructure firms, as well as alternative investment portfolio administration for institutional limited partners. Huw Jones, EMEA Regional Head of JPMorgan Private Equity Fund Services said: “Establishing a Jersey presence is a major step forward for our European PEFS business, allowing us to service a broader range of European private equity firms. Following the successful launch of our London presence last year, this expansion solidifies our leading administrator position in the European private equity market.” The firm says it is “one of the only private equity administrators in the UK and the Channel Islands that can offer a range of banking services, including cash management and foreign exchange, as well as tax support services to its administration clients.”

BBK adds four
BBK, an international business advisory firm, has announced the addition of four new hires: Greg Jaroch, Michael Martin and James Weinberg have joined as directors, and Mark Kozak as a manager. “These new hires bring depth of experience to many of BBK’s core areas, such as performance improvement and counsel to private equity clients,” said William Diehl, president and CEO of BBK. “More importantly, these new additions add value to our level of service to clients in manufacturing, as well as enhance our services in various industries such as consumer goods and healthcare. We are thrilled to have them join us and hit-the-ground-running.” Jaroch in particular will help to strengthen the firm’s PE offering. He joins BBK after spending 12 years as a principal in a private equity firm where he was responsible for all aspects of the acquisition process including business valuation, due diligence, financial structuring, integration planning and implementation.

SVB opens lending group in India
SVB Financial Group, the parent company of Silicon Valley Bank, has opened a venture lending operation in India called SVB India Finance. SVB opened offices in Bangalore in 2004 and Mumbai in 2007. “The entrepreneurial environment in India is vibrant,” said Ash Lilani, president, India and China, SVB Financial Group. “Entrepreneurs with high quality ideas are abundant and the number of venture capital firms focused on domestic Indian companies has grown remarkably.” Managing Director Ajay Hattangdi will manage lending operations for SVB India Finance and Ash Lilani will serve as the firm’s CEO. Hattangdi joined SVB from Citigroup’s venture debt operation in India. Hattangdi was also the head of strategy for Citigroup’s corporate and investment bank in India.

Heidrick Hones in on new private equity team leader
Perhaps a sign of the times for financial sponsors seeking significant assistance with hiring, Chicago-based executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles appointed a new head for its private equity/venture capital practice group. Based in Heidrick’s New York office, Todd Monti oversees the firm’s financial sponsor practice. Monti, with the firm for nine years, was a member of the financial services practice prior to assuming the leadership role. Monti replaced Kelvin Thompson who left the firm. Heidrick counts 125 of its 409 consultants as included in the private equity practice. Meanwhile on Aug. 13, Heidrick purchased a small Boston boutique with two recruiters. In conjunction with the acquisition, Heidrick took on Lisa De Conto and Scott Vierra, who handle assignments across the board.