Wunderlich Caps 2013 With Big Investment

By Andy Meek

In October, Wunderlich Securities Inc. CEO Gary Wunderlich traveled to Washington to testify in front of a congressional panel about promoting capital formation and job creation on behalf of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.


His testimony, organized on short notice, was part of an active year for Wunderlich’s Memphis-based full-service brokerage firm.

Over the past 12 months, the firm expanded its equity capital markets division more than once, added financial advisers in several cities and reached a deal with a California-based private investment firm that secured a $40 million equity capital investment for Wunderlich.

The firm is poised to expand several divisions – private client wealth management, investment banking and equity and fixed income capital markets – as a result of the $40 million investment from San Francisco Bay area-based Altamont Capital Partners and members of Wunderlich’s management team.

Altamont invests in middle-market businesses, and its principals have worked with businesses across industry sectors including financial services, industrials and health care, among others. A Wunderlich spokesman said the investment is not a prelude to a merger and that Altamont will be a minority owner of Wunderlich.

Wunderlich himself said about the deal, “A capital commitment from an investor as highly regarded as Altamont truly validates the growth opportunity we see before us.”

In a statement about the deal with Wunderlich, Altamont managing director Keoni Schwartz described an “impressive trajectory” at the Memphis company and said it possessed a “high-quality management team and exceptional platform.”

Schwartz added that Altamont anticipates bringing more resources and industry expertise to bear to help Wunderlich’s management continue growing the company. Among the expected benefits from Wunderlich’s side, the firm expects its retail financial adviser group especially to see growth in the near future because of the deal.

For context about the deal, one investment professional told The Daily News it makes sense and is a win for Wunderlich, because “in the independent broker-dealer business, scale is essential to success and survival. Altamont’s capital and credibility will enable Wunderlich to scale significantly.”

“A capital commitment from an investor as highly regarded as Altamont truly validates the growth opportunity we see before us.”

–Gary Wunderlich
Wunderlich Securities Inc. CEO

Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. served as Wunderlich’s exclusive financial adviser for the deal.

In October, meanwhile, Wunderlich added five equity capital markets professionals to its ranks. This summer, the firm named a new director of equity capital markets and added four professionals to the equity capital markets division.

The new arrivals came to Wunderlich from firms like Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc. and Sanders Morris Harris.

In August, Wunderlich was one of several Memphis companies that made Inc. Magazine’s 2013 Inc. 5000 list, an annual list of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the U.S. Wunderlich, which has 29 offices in 16 states with more than 450 professionals, has made that list for each of the past four years.

Also around that time, Wunderlich sponsored “The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South” at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, an exhibit featuring Carroll Cloar’s art that ran through mid-September. A few months before that, Wunderlich added financial advisers in Memphis, Houston and Dallas.

Wunderlich’s equity capital markets division was set up in 2008 and today has more than 90 professionals, including 20 investment bankers. The division’s research analysts cover more than 250 companies.

Wunderlich’s fixed income capital markets unit, meanwhile, has grown to more than 75 sales and trading professions, mainly based in New York and New Jersey.