Stephens loses two in financial sponsors coverage team

Stephens believes it maintains excellent sponsor coverage through its existing staff and sees the area as one of growth.

Stephens, long an investment banking presence in mid-market private equity, has had several high-level departures within its financial sponsors team, thinning out its ranks in a strategy many banks consider one of the most lucrative.

Banks view financial sponsor coverage as both a revenue generator on the hefty fees for advising PE-backed M&A transactions, as well as a way to build relationships with private equity firms that could touch on other areas of business like capital markets and fundraising.

Stephens, headquartered in Little Rock, with offices in Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas, along with big metro areas like New York and San Francisco, has worked in mid-market private equity for decades.

Earlier this month, the bank’s head of US sponsored coverage, Brian Bratcher, left to join Lazard as a managing director. Bratcher took over Stephens’ US financial sponsors coverage in 2008, according to an archived version of his biography on Stephens’ website.

Another executive, Rob Pierson, recently resigned to take a role at another bank, sources said and the Stephens spokesperson confirmed. Pierson is understood to be joining Guggenheim Securities. A Guggenheim spokesperson did not return a comment request Monday.

Another financial sponsor banker, Tucker Laurens, left last year and joined Solomon Partners as a director.

The departures appear to have left the bank with one senior-level dedicated US financial sponsors professional, managing director Palmer Henson, according to the website, along with two associates. Simon Tilley, managing director in Stephens’ London office, leads the European financial sponsors group.

Stephens believes it maintains excellent sponsor coverage through its existing staff, and sees the area as one of growth, according to a spokesperson. “Stephens remains fully committed to coverage of financial sponsors,” the spokesperson said.

“With a strong, dedicated senior and junior team and deep expertise, we’re able to cover the sponsor community at multiple levels in multiple sectors,” the spokesperson said.

Indeed, overall investment banking at Stephens is led by executive vice president J Bradford Eichler, while Marshall McKissack leads M&A advisory.

The team includes several sector specialists in building products, construction materials and services; energy and clean energy transition; cleantech and infrastructure; power and industrial tech; health and life sciences; consumer; specialty finance; and media.