- Co-leader of corporate and leveraged finance group
- Regions bought BlackArch in 2015, expanding M&A business
- Bank now offering buy-side and sell-side advisory
Rit Amin says he “started on an engineering path,” coming from a “technically inclined” family, but he soon realized that business and finance were his true interests. Specifically, he wanted to be an investment banker.
Amin now co-leads the corporate and leveraged finance group at southeastern-focused investment bank Regions Securities, which he says is “trying to do more institutionalized sponsor relationships within our organization.”
When he entered the profession, in the early-to-mid ’90s, “the investment banking industry was the growth industry at the time,” Amin recalled. New institutions were cropping up and established banks were testing the limits of Glass-Steagall. “I decided to join those types of organizations, to be part of a growing and consolidating industry.”
Amin went to work at First Union, which became Wachovia and is now Wells Fargo. He spent more than 11 years there in several practice areas (financial sponsors, mezzanine finance, high-yield capital markets), eventually becoming a director in the leveraged-finance group. “Initially, we were working on middle-market syndications,” but this was the pre-2008 era, when “buyouts just got bigger and bigger, and we ended up migrating our business more upmarket to work with larger-cap sponsors.”
Then “leveraged finance markets came to a screeching halt.” Amin remembers when he first got wind of what was coming: “July of 2007, we were working on a company that was Atlanta-based, we were sell-side advisers along with Goldman Sachs.” It was a $13 billion buyout financing; a final bid was expected when Amin’s boss called to say the deal would have to be restructured. That was “the beginning of working through a lot of long positions and challenging positions in 2008.”
Late that year, Amin moved to Houlihan Lokey as a founding member of its capital-markets group. Business was changing under the pressures of the crisis, with capital raising moving toward new vehicles. “I started to get to know more of the middle market, alternative credit, BDC investors who were really coming into the market in lieu of the banks.”
After a decade of structuring loans, “at Houlihan I really got to see how sponsors value the advisory side.” Amin’s team at Regions wants to solve both sets of problems for its clients.
“We’re looking to be a consistent provider of credit capital. Sponsors want to know if you’re going to do the deal, that you’re going to show up and there are not going to be any surprises at the last minute.”
On the advisory side, the bank’s offerings include target-company search through its BlackArch Partners affiliate. “We’re in a very robust M&A environment. … If you can come to a sponsor with a unique investment idea that they might not have found at an auction process or [through] their own channels and network, they’ll pay for value.”
Photo of Rit Amin courtesy of Regions Securities