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Fenchurch Advisory Partners has poached Cliff Hampton to be its chairman from rival independent advisory group Evercore to bolster its client relationships.
The UK-based advisory group, which specialises in financial services clients, is set to announce this week that the 67-year-old investment banker will take on the newly created role in September.
It comes as boutique advisory companies have gained traction in the past few years, as many bulge-bracket rivals slashed costs, cut jobs and disposed of businesses amid a sharp drop in revenues and tighter regulatory pressure.
Mr Hampton worked as chairman of UK advisory group Lexicon Partners for a decade and most recently acted as a senior adviser to Evercore, the US investment bank that bought Lexicon last year.
In the 1990s, Mr Hampton worked as head of the European financial institution group at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette alongside Malik Karim, who later went on to found Fenchurch. Mr Karim said the incoming chairman would help the advisory group expand and strengthen its client base.
“Cliff will spend his time equally on senior client coverage and the strategic development of the firm,” the group’s chief executive said.
“We have been looking for a chairman for some time: Cliff’s contribution to developing owner managed advisory businesses combined with his proven track record … make him that rare individual who matches our requirements,” he added.
Fenchurch was set up in 2003 and has since established itself as possibly the only group purely specialised on deals in the financial services sector. Sir Peter Middleton, former chairman of Barclays Bank, acts as its senior advisor.
It has advised on 50 mostly medium-sized financial institution deals such as Barclays’ £226m acquisition of Standard Life Bank and Investec’s £45m sale of Rensburg Fund Management to Franklin Templeton.
The boutique advisory model has attracted senior investment bankers in the past few years thanks to its entrepreneurial spirit and pay based on success winning deals. But independent banks have not been immune to the overall slump in mergers and acquisitions activity.
In the year ended March 2011, Fenchurch’s revenues dropped 12 per cent to £8.5m. Its net profit sank from £5.2m to £3.9m.
Fenchurch has eight managing directors which, according to Mr Karim, makes the group comparable to the financial institutions practices of most bulge-bracket banks.