Frontline – November 2006

FRONTLINE 2006-11-01 Staff Writer <b>RBS' head of global leveraged finance relocates to US</b><br />Euan Hamilton, the global leveraged finance head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, is relocating to New York to boost the bank's US activities. Though the bank has been successful in Europe, it

RBS’ head of global leveraged finance relocates to US
Euan Hamilton, the global leveraged finance head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, is relocating to New York to boost the bank’s US activities. Though the bank has been successful in Europe, it has not managed to do well in the US, where RBS ranks 11th for leveraged loans, 18th for leveraged finance revenues, 17th in high yield bonds and ninth in mezzanine finance. The Financial News reported that the bank had expanded its US business in recent years but started to suffer when John Walsh, the head of North American corporate capital markets, and his deputy, Ben Cohen, left the bank to start a hedge fund.

William Blair builds Europe talent
Steward Licudi joined investment bank William Blair International last month as head of European financial sponsors coverage and the European technology team. In the new position, Licudi leads the bank’s development activities in the private equity, legal and accounting communities. Licudi has worked in the private equity industry for 11 years. ?We have worked with Steward for several years and are thrilled that he has joined our investment banking team,? said Brent Gledhill, principal and head of European and Asian banking for William Blair and Company, in a press release. ?We look forward to working with him to continue building William Blair’s presence in the European financial sponsors and technology markets.?

Park Hill launches hedge fund placement unit
Park Hill Group, and alternative asset placement agency, has established a new hedge fund unit. Alexander Moomjy and Patrick Daly lead the new hedge fund from New York, and Peter Mayer leads it from London. All three were formerly part of Credit Suisse’s private fund group. Dan Prendergast, managing partner of Park Hill, said, ?With Park Hill successfully raising funds in the private equity space, establishing a team to focus on the robust hedge fund industry is a natural evolution. We have built a team with unique capabilities and talents that allows us to provide investors with top quality alternative investment opportunities.? Stephen Schwarzman, chairman, CEO and co-founder of The Blackstone Group, a minority investor in Park Hill, commented in the press statement, ?The addition of its hedge fund unit and these very experienced private equity professionals will allow Park Hill to continue representing top-tier alternative investment funds while serving the investor community’s alternative investment needs.?

Mercer expands research initiatives
Mercer Investment Consulting will expand its research into alternative investments to provide its clients with access to information about a wider range of products. According to a press statement, Mercer particularly intends to expand coverage of equity-based hedge funds, fixed income-based hedge funds, directly-invested private equity funds and multistrategy funds. ?By devoting additional resources to our manager research capability, our aim is to give clients access to a broad and deep coverage of alternative strategies to enable them to manage their investments more effectively,? said Tim Gardener, Mercer’s global head, in a press release. ?The enhanced research into alternatives will complement our existing coverage of traditional, longonly investment products.?

PwC to offer valuation and corporate advisory services
International accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers launched a US valuation practice, intended to provide important information about corporate initiatives, in September. Two teams comprise the valuation services. John Glynn leads the transaction services accounting and valuation advisory practice that deals with financial reporting and tax valuation requirements. Mark Haller leads the business analytics team, which assists companies in making business decisions. Also in September, PwC launched PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Advisory & Restructuring (PwC CAR). The purpose of this new business is to provide financial, transactional and operational services to underperforming and distressed companies. Tom Sperry, senior restructuring advisor at PwC has joined PwC CAR’s leadership team as US market leader. Peter Spratt is the president of PwCCAR and head of PwC’s global restructuring practice. ?PwCCAR will bring fresh thinking and a renewed approach to the corporate turnaround market for the benefit not only of companies in difficulty but also for the restructuring business itself,? said Spratt in a press statement.

Piper Jaffray expands into Spain
Midmarket investment bank Piper Jaffray has opened an office in Madrid, Spain. The new office is a branch of the company’s UK subsidiary Piper Jaffray Ltd. ?One of our major initiatives in building a leading middle market investment bank is expanding geographically to areas where our clients seek to raise and invest capital, and the opening of our Madrid office advances this objective,? said Andrew Duff, chairman and chief executive officer of Piper Jaffray in a press release. Guillermo Menendez and Carlos Macias will head up the new office, which will focus on Southern Europe. Menendez and Macias were the founders of Vetusta Group, a European financial services company.

Two years, two times the clients for S&P’s Capital IQ
Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ division announced in September that its client base had doubled since its acquisition by Standard & Poor’s in 2004 to 1,500 clients. According to a press release, buy-side firms’ use of Capital IQ’s offering has been the leading force behind the surge in clients. ?Our goal is to provide deep information relevant to investment professionals with tools that help them spend less time on research and more on developing ideas and refining their investment thesis,? said Randy Winn, managing director of Capital IQ, in a press statement. ?The fact that we have grown so much in such a short period of time validates our commitment to our clients.?

Oliveras makes move to Aon
Carlos Oliveras joined the US mergers and acquisitions group of Aon Corp, a risk management and human resources consultancy, as a managing director in September. At Aon’s New York offices, Oliveras will work to strengthen the company’s position as the market leader for the private equity industry, stated a press release. Oliveras left a position as president and chief executive of CAO Advisors, a due diligence and strategy consultant for companies and private equity firms, to join Aon.

GMAC Commercial Finance appoints UK head
Gordon Titley has been appointed president of UK operations and managing director of GMAC Commercial Finance Plc. Titley joined GMAC CF’s predecessor organization in 1990 as an account manager and has since progressed through various roles including heading the work-out and recoveries team and an appointment as divisional chief credit officer in May 2005. Most recently, Titley’s responsibilities had expanded to include overseeing the firm’s Poland operations. GMAC Commercial Finance Plc provides corporate and commercial funding to middle market companies in Europe.

Lincoln International creates LA presence
Middle-market investment bank Lincoln International has opened an office in Los Angeles to build the firm’s relationships with clients in California and elsewhere in the western US. The Los Angeles office will be headed by Steve Wiesner, who joined Lincoln recently as a senior vice president, after previous stints at Zuma Capital Partners, Credit Suisse First Boston, and the M&A group of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Wiesner and Rob Barr, managing director and president of Lincoln’s North American operations, will be responsible for staffing the new office and developing client relations in the region.

Putnam to launch Houlihan’s Asia ops
International investment bank Houlihan Lokey named David Putnam managing director and head of its Asia-Pacific investment banking activities in September. In this position, Putnam will open a new office in Hong Kong, the firm’s first office in Asia. ?David’s hands-on knowledge of the Asia-Pacific market spans more than a decade in the region,? said Bob Hotz, senior managing director and head of investment banking at Houlihan Lokey, in a press release. ?This expertise, coupled with his in-depth experience with M&A and advisory services, will prove to be an invaluable resource for our international expansion.? Putnam was previously a senior member of the M&A group at Citigroup Global Markets in Hong Kong.

Guggenheim hires pros from HIG and Legg Mason
Thomas Ley, formerly the managing director at HIG Capital, and Mel Chez, formerly a vice president at Legg Mason, became new managing directors for the Guggenheim Partners’ capital markets division in September. Ley and Chez will raise funds for Guggenheim’s private equity funds, hedge funds and fixed-income offerings and will cover the western US and central US, respectively. At HIG Capital, Ley was a managing director and engineered leveraged buyouts. Chez worked with plan sponsors, pension consultants, endowments and foundations as a vice president at Legg Mason Institutional Services.