Frontline – January 2007

FRONTLINE 2007-01-01 Staff Writer <b>Kroll executive set for reunion at GPW</b><br />Richard Blaksley, former head of Kroll in Europe and Asia, is to team up again with old colleagues at GPW, the corporate intelligence and investigations firm launched two years ago by former Kroll European

Kroll executive set for reunion at GPW
Richard Blaksley, former head of Kroll in Europe and Asia, is to team up again with old colleagues at GPW, the corporate intelligence and investigations firm launched two years ago by former Kroll European deputy chairman Patrick Grayson and former senior directors Peter Pender-Cudlip and Andrew Wordsworth. Blaksley joined Kroll in 1992 and went on to attain responsibility for the Soviet Union, Africa and the Middle East before most recently heading up Kroll’s network across Asia. Clients of GPW include companies, financial institutions, investment banks, law firms, investors, private equity firms, hedge funds, funds of funds, governments and individuals.

AlixPartners sets its sights on India
AlixPartners, the US-based global turnaround advisory specialist, has announced plans to open an office in India ?sometime in 2007?. The firm currently has 12 offices: six in the US, five in Europe and one in Japan. The India market is currently overseen by managing director CV Ramachandran and India initiative director Sanjay Shetty from the firm’s Detroit headquarters. It has not been confirmed that the two individuals will move to the India office. Commenting on the reasons for a presence in India, Ramachandran pointed to the growing presence on the ground of global private equity firms such as Blackstone Group, Warburg Pincus and Henderson Private Capital.

Jeffries opens new office in China
Jeffries, a global investment bank and institutional securities firm based in New York added to its global presence by opening an office in Shanghai, its first in mainland China, in December. ?With the sixth-largest economy in the world, China is teeming with growing companies and has become an area of focus and attention for investors around the globe,? Paul Deninger, a Jefferies vice chairman, said in a statement. ?Greater China is rapidly becoming the hub for an even larger and rapidly growing Asian economy.? Jefferies has more than 2,250 employees in 30 offices worldwide, and has raised approximately $3 billion in equity and debt transactions for Asian companies, the statement said, adding that the company has also worked on private equity and venture capital funds in China.

Cantor Fitzgerald launches merchant banking division
New York-based financial services provider Cantor Fitzgerald created a merchant banking business, Cantor Capital Partners, in December. ?In establishing Cantor Capital Partners, we now have the ability to act as both principal and agent in corporate transactions, providing investment capital and advisory resources to our clients,? Howard Lutnich, Cantor Fitzgerald’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. F. Burke Dempsey has joined the group to be the new division’s managing director of Cantor Capital. He was formerly a managing director at Presidio Financial Partners, a financial services advisory company, and a managing director in the corporate finance division at UBS, an integrated investment services firm.

Salem Partners adds managing director
Salem Partners, an investment bank and wealth management firm based in Los Angeles, has hired Adam Meislik to be a managing director in the company’s investment banking group. Meislik will work with companies that ?create, deliver and monetize entertainment content via digital platforms,? Salem said in a statement. He will also advise clients in the software industry, one in which he gained much experience in his previous position as an investment banker at CIBC World Markets, the statement said. At CIBC, Meislik worked as an investment banker and participated in more than 100 transactions with a total value of more than $10 billion, the statement said. Founded in 1997, Salem focuses on the entertainment, life sciences and technology sectors.

Bank of America loses chief financial officer
After 18 months with the company, Alvaro ?Al? de Molina, 49, left his position as the chief financial of-ficer of Bank of America on December 31st. He had taken over the position from Marc Oken in September 2005. Oken had held the job for only 17 months when he resigned. Joe Price, 45, the bank’s head of global corporate and investment banking risk management, will take de Molina’s place on FEBRUARY 1st. Price will become a member of the risk and capital committee, a group that establishes the company’s strategic direction. He joined Bank of America in 1993. Prior to that, he was a member of Bank of America’s engagement team at PriceWaterhouse, where he was a part of the financial institutions national industry group specializing in banking and acquisitions and derivates, Bank of America said in a statement.

GSC continues to build its structured finance group
GSC Group, an alternative asset investment manager, has hired Robert P. Seery as senior vice president in its structured finance group, based in the company’s New York office. He joins GSC Group from International Asset Transactions, a privately held capital markets specialist, where he served as chief operating officer from 2003. GSC has more than $18 billion (€13.6 billion) of assets under management and specialises in credit-driven investing including corporate credit, distressed investing and real estate.

Kleinwort bulks up executive committee
Kleinwort Benson, a UK and Channel Islands banking and financial services provider, has expanded its senior management team and appointed dedicated managing directors for Jersey and Guernsey. Angus Taylor, deputy chief executive and head of products and services, will become managing director in Jersey and remain on the executive committee. Sandra Platts has been promoted to head of operations, human resources and information technology, and will become managing director of Guernsey as well as joining the new five-strong executive committee. Larry Jopp, head of finance and risk, will also join the committee. Richard Robins, deputy chief executive, and Jim Gilligan, head of private wealth management, will both be retiring from their roles but will both be remaining on the Channel Islands board.

CIT woos Wachovia exec
CIT Group, a commercial and consumer financial services company, has recruited Clifton Strain as managing director in its sponsor finance business unit. Based in New York, Strain will pursue senior and subordinated debt financings, equity co-investments and strategic advisory assignments with mid-market private equity groups. He joins the group from Wachovia Securities’ financial sponsor coverage group, where he was a managing director. CIT Group provides clients with financing and leasing products and advisory services. Founded in 1908, the group has more than $70 billion (€53 billion) under management. With its global headquarters in New York, CIT has more than 7,200 employees in locations throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific.

SunGard expands hedge fund capabilities with IBS
SunGard, an information technology services company, has bought Integrated Business Systems, a New York-based provider of software to hedge funds, for an undisclosed amount. SunGard offers software to hedge funds, private equity funds, funds of funds and fund administrators. SunGard has annual revenues of $4 billion (€3 billion) and serves more than 25,000 customers in more than 50 countries.

Study: Offshoring can save billions
According to a study by research firm The Hackett Group, offshoring back-office functions could save Fortune 500 companies as much as $58 billion annually, averaging $116 million per company. Hackett estimates a ?labor arbitrage? saving of roughly 60 percent. ?Today, companies can turn to establishing offshore resources that deliver labor cost reductions while maintaining or even improving the skill level of staff,? said Michel Janssen, a managing director of Hackett, in a statement.

NewStar Financial prices IPO
NewStar Financial, a commercial finance company, priced its initial public offering of 12,000,000 shares at $17.00 per share. The net proceeds of the offering to NewStar will be approximately $190 million. NewStar, based in Boston, was formed in June 2004 by a group of professionals from FleetBoston Financial, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, Capital Z Partners, JP Morgan Corsair Capital Partners and Och-Ziff Capital Management Group. NewStar provides financing to middle-market companies, as well as provides services within the commercial real estate and structured products markets. The firm is led by chairman and CEO Tim Conway, who from 1996 to 2002 managed corporate finance and capital markets for FleetBoston Financial.

Mourant lands on the West Coast
Mourant, a private equity fund administrator, has opened an office in San Francisco to expand its North American business. The office will provide accounting, administration, tax compliance and cash management services to fund sponsors. Michael Derrick, formerly vice president of alternative fund services at HSBC, will head the office. Mourant administers over $100 billion in these asset classes. Mourant’s existing offices are in New York, London, Luxembourg, Cayman, Dubai, Jersey, and Guernsey.