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VOL. 8 | NO. 7 | Saturday, February 7, 2015

Brean Capital Looks to Expand, Grow in Memphis

By Andy Meek

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Brean Capital LLC arrived in Memphis a few months ago and sees 2015 as a year of forward momentum for the company, with a planned move to a new office as well as interest in adding to the firm’s local ranks.

The independent bank and asset management firm announced the opening of its Memphis office in September and named two managing directors – Jay Webb and Sheldon Smith – to staff it.

Combined, Webb and Smith have more than four decades of experience in the industry.

Jay Webb, managing director of Brean Capital

(Memphis News/Andrew J. Breig)

Webb is serving in production as well as operating as manager in Memphis, something he’s done plenty of during his career as a manager and supervisor of institutional sales for other firms.

Smith will serve in production, as well as the primary sales and service trainer for Brean Capital. That’s something he likewise has done before, having recruited and trained talent in various aspects of the investment industry.

The collective focus of Webb and Smith has been directed towards institutional accounts. And Webb said the firm is here because of the opportunity it sees in Memphis, particularly related to dislocation in the financial services business and in fixed income.

“In Memphis, I think we have easily the most talented pool of technical salespeople outside of New York City,” Webb said. “The market is in a cyclical change. So we see while this cyclical change is very painful, there’s going to be a lot of opportunity in the dislocation of companies and people because of that.”

In a statement about the company’s expansion into Memphis, Brean Capital managing principal Robert Tirschwell described the city as having a strong financial community. “That community and our industry (have) been in a transitional phase that will become increasingly complex,” Tirschwell said. “We think that there is an opportunity to attract additional talent.”

Brean Capital bought control of what was its predecessor company in June of 2012. It was then recapitalized.

The focus is on delivering “high-quality investment ideas” and investment banking services to institutional investors and corporate clients. Services include equity research, corporate finance and advisory investment banking, equity institutional sales and trading, and asset management.

The firm’s fixed income business provides sales, trading, and banking services on a range of mortgage and asset-backed, U.S. Treasury and government agency securities, structured products and corporate bonds.

The firm’s sectors of expertise include consumer products and retailing, healthcare, technology and specialty finance, among others.

“We’re a new brand. We’re a developing brand,” Webb said, adding that the firm is looking to hire around 20 locally this year. “We’ve got a lot of opportunity because of that. Our revenues from 2013 to 2014 grew 30 percent. And we have a tremendous sales force in this town. We have 140 employees, predominantly Manhattan-based, but our principals recognized the talent pool here.

“Right now, I’m looking for employees and trying to develop the brand. We’re looking for space and have something lined up on Poplar Avenue. March is our target to move in.”

PROPERTY SALES 50 389 12,758
MORTGAGES 21 248 8,003
BUILDING PERMITS 295 813 29,934
BANKRUPTCIES 35 164 6,064