Shawn Matthews Comments: Cantor Chiefs Plot Roadmap To European Growth
August 1, 2012, Dow Jones Newswires
US brokerage Cantor Fitzgerald has bucked the trend of downsizing in the financial services industry by hiring 17 staff for a tilt at the European corporate advisory market.
Cantor said in a statement yesterday that all of the new hires had previously worked at Canadian investment bank Canaccord Genuity, which acquired UK brokerage firm Collins Stewart Hawkpoint this year for £253m.
The group will use the hires to launch a corporate advisory business in Europe as well as expand its brokerage services in the region, according to the statement.
The new advisory unit will be led by Gordon Neilly, who joins as head of corporate finance, while Angelo Sofocleous will co-head European sales and trading with Marc Altmann.
The 17 staff will be based in London and report to James Rowsell, chief executive of Cantor Fitzgerald Europe. Cantor currently employs over 130 people in Europe, with more than 100 in London.
Shawn Matthews, chief executive of Cantor Fitzgerald, told Financial News that the firm already provided advisory services in the US and Asia but was keen to take advantage of opportunities in Europe. He said: “The financial services landscape in going through a shift and we are well positioned to gain market share through hiring quality people.”
Rowsell said the firm's aim is to differentiate itself from other UK corporate brokers by emulating the US business. He said: “What we can bring to the party is the fact that we are an international global organisation.
“Therefore if you look at the business that Cantor Fitzgerald does in the US, it has a number of verticals where they are looking at mid-cap companies from a banking and research and sales, distribution and trading point of view. That's what we're trying to replicate here and that's the way we hope to differentiate ourselves from a Panmure Gordon or a Cannacord or a Peel Hunt.”
The new team will provide services – including advice on debt and equity issues, mergers and acquisitions, capital reorganisations and strategy - to asset managers, wealth managers and other investment companies. Matthews said Cantor will target both new clients and those with whom it already has a sales and trading relationship.
Cantor already offers equity research from in London office, where a team covers pan-European consumer sectors including retail, food retail, luxury goods, food producers, beverages, household and personal care, transport and leisure.
Rowsell told Financial News that the firm also has a foothold in oil and gas and will look to expand in that area. With the addition of the new team, a primary goal is to engage in mid-tier corporate advisory work in areas already covered by the existing research team.
The firm also intends to target the transport sector with the support of Robin Byde, former head of transport research at HSBC. Rowsell said: “I'd imagine we will get a level of retainer from each new client.“It will be done on the basis of transactions and advice which we'll build in the normal way.”
In addition to expanding sales and trading in Europe, Matthews said the firm wants to expand in asset management and investment banking: “We have a really big opportunity to pick up share pretty much everywhere. We are a private partnership with a long-term view and we will expand with caution and discipline.”
He added that the group would "both opportunistically hire and grow through acquisitions" over the next three to five years in a bid to build market share.
Rowsell added: “Given that this is a reasonably significant move for us both strategically and in terms of numbers, I think what you'll see from us in the future is that we'll be building on this platform and expanding into different verticals. We've now got a sort of bedrock. It's only a start, which we can build from.”