Jefferies Ousts Asset Management Bankers

Jefferies & Co. isn’t officially shuttering its asset management advisory business, but it is letting go of some its veterans in the space.

Kevin Pakenham and Aaron Dorr, both MDs in the financial institutions group, will be leaving Jefferies, a source says. Karamvir Gosal, also an MD, as well as two junior bankers, will be leaving as well, the person says. Their departures are expected to occur in coming weeks.

Pakenham, Dorr and Gosal all hail from Putnam Lovell, which Jefferies acquired in 2007. It’s not clear if Jefferies is ousting all of the bankers in the asset management advisory division, but it is letting go of the senior bankers, the source says.

The departures follow Jefferies expansion of its Financial Institutions Group. In December, Jefferies hired Frank Cicero and seven other bankers to build out the unit (Jefferies calls the division the Financial Institutions Investment Banking Group but FIIBG looks silly to me so I’m just gonna say FIG). Cicero, most recently from Barclays Capital, was named global head of the group.

The Jefferies group will still focus on fund firms but will also target banks and insurance, the source says. Asset management, however, will have a new strategy and will focus on larger sized deals.

“The guys leaving [Jefferies] came from the Putnam Lovell model which was to collect on sell-side engagement and that was it,” the source says.

Jefferies is expected to put together a team of bankers who will leverage all the firm’s capabilities, including capital raising, and advisory services, the person says. “It will be more than just M&A,” the source says.

Asset management was hot in 2009 as banks were looking to shed units to raise capital. The biggest deal came from Barclays which sold BGI to BlackRock in a mammoth $15.2 billion sale (CVC Capital Partners initially agreed to buy iShares, which is owned by BGI. But CVC got booted when BlackRock came in with a higher offer for BGI). Morgan Stanley also sold its retail fund business to Invesco, Guggenheim Partners bought Rydex/SGI and Lincoln Financial sold Delaware Investments to Macquarie Group.

The spate of deals dwindled in late 2010 and early 2011. Attention, of late, has focused on the sale of Pioneer Investments, the Boston-based fund firm owned by UniCredit. PE firms were expected to vie for Pioneer, which UniCredit put up for sale last year (BofA is advising). However, buyout shops are out of the running for Pioneer, sources have told peHUB.

UniCredit will likely sell Pioneer to either Natixis or Amundi, one banker says. “If that process blows up then maybe they’ll sell to PE or maybe do an IPO,” one banker says.

News of Pakenham’s and Dorr’s departures was first reported by Financial News.

A Jefferies spokesman declined comment.