Jefferies & Co. has snapped up Frank Cicero to start a financial institutions group in its investment bank. Cicero, 40, joins Jefferies from Barclays Capital, where he co-headed the U.S. depository institutions team, and is bringing another managing director from that group, Jason Reid, with him.
Jefferies declines to comment, but a source close to the bank says it is targeting financial institutions because of the fees that come from the sector. "Every year, FIG is the first- or second-largest fee pool on the Street," the source says. According to Dealogic, financial institutions groups accounted for an average 32% of investment banking revenue both globally and in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010.
Jefferies plans to build a team of as many as 10 managing directors to cover all aspects of the financial services sector. It recently poached equity analyst Ken Usdin, who covers mostly midcap regional banks and investment banks, from Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, and from UBS, Michael Anderson, to direct the financial institutions-focused business in the global equity capital markets group. "It shows Jefferies is serious" about the financial services sector, the source says.
The buildup is part of Jefferies' larger plan to expand its investment bank, which began last year when it hired Ben Lorello from UBS as global head of investment banking and capital markets. Lorello, who brought 35 members of UBS' healthcare team with him, has since added numerous analysts and bankers to Jefferies' leveraged finance, European financial sponsors, business services and healthcare groups.
Just this month, Jefferies hired Dominic Lester from UBS to head its European technology and telecommunications group. In August, it added John P. Ockerbloom from Morgan Keegan & Co. to lead a U.S. real estate group and Robert A. Arrieta from J.P. Morgan and Robert A. Bayer Jr. from Bank of America Merrill Lynch for its industrials group. The last two report to Sean P. Sullivan, head of industrials.
Cicero, who will report to Lorello and be based in New York, started his career at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. and joined Lehman Brothers Inc. in 1999. His deals include advising Toronto-Dominion Bank on its $1.9 billion acquisition of Hudson United Bancorp in 2006; Sovereign Bancorp Inc. on its $1.9 billion sale to Banco Santander SA in 2008; and Huntington Bancshares Inc. on its $3.6 billion purchase of Sky Financial Group Inc. in 2007.
At Barclays, Cicero's departure leaves Greg Kennedy as sole head of depository institutions. Kennedy joined the bank in April from Credit Suisse Group and reports to Jeff Weiss, global head of FIG.