Under an ex-Deutsche Bank president, Cantor Fitzgerald has raided Jefferies and Credit Agricole to create an advisory dream team targeting power and infrastructure. But with no balance sheet of its own, what kind of investment bank adviser is it, asks Colin Leopold
Sometime during the middle of 2016, the head of a mid-sized Wall Street brokerage and a former Deutsche Bank CEO had a conversation about the future of investment banking. Howard Lutnick, chair of Cantor Fitzgerald, and Anshu Jain talked about gaps in the market left by the big banks after the financial crisis.
The conversation resulted in 53-year-old Jain joining Cantor as president in January 2017 and, this year, the bank’s assault on the infrastructure and power market began.
By the end of the year, Cantor Fitzgerald expects to have 35 investment bankers working on power and infrastructure globally, across London, New York, Hong Kong and Dubai.
Perhaps better known as a brokerage firm and for losing two-thirds of its workforce in the 9/11 World Trade Centre attacks, the privately-owned bank is hoping to repeat the success of its healthcare team – now a top five healthcare business after Sage Kelly began building out of a full service investment bank in 2016.
In two years at Cantor, Kelly has built the healthcare business up to a team of around 60 and last year completed 60 transactions.
“Our ambition is to do the same in power and infrastructure,” says Cantor managing director Carlos Candil from the bank’s hollowed-out Mayfair building, shared with I Squared Capital.
Twenty-four of the new power and infra team came from US investment bank rival Jefferies and started in April. They are led by Hari Chandra in London and Kevin Phillips in New York and have been told to look at independent power projects, renewables M&A and debt capital markets, especially in emerging markets.