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November 30, 2018  

Hunt Staffers Turn Down Positions at Brean

A large number of Hunt Financial Securities’ employees won’t move to Brean Capital.

As Hunt Financial parent Hunt Cos. initially prepared to fold the operation into Brean, widespread staff exits were seen as unlikely. Following the deal’s completion on Nov. 8, however, many of Hunt Financial’s salesmen and traders have opted to leave the company.

Hunt Financial had a headcount of about 35 at the time of the merger, encompassing some 20 sales-and-trading professionals, a few bankers and about a dozen support personnel — most with an emphasis on structured products. One industry professional said Brean offered jobs to 27 of those individuals, with only six accepting.

Among those who declined were securitization specialists Pat Carvell, Steven Kirchner, Jiwon Park and Charles Riether, along with about a half-dozen corporate-bond traders led by Mike Carley. Sources said those individuals felt Brean’s offers promised too few accounts to ensure their incomes or included too little detail about their jobs.

Why? One source suggested that with 90 fixed-income sales-and-trading specialists already on board, Brean may have viewed the incoming personnel as redundant. But that contradicts earlier talk that the two businesses would be treated as complimentary.

On the structured-product side, it’s also possible Brean was concerned that slow secondary-market trading might leave too little business to go around for the combined staff — and set its offers accordingly. Likewise, the firm’s proposals to Hunt Financial’s corporate-bond specialists may have reflected fears of a downturn in that market.

Many of the Hunt Financial personnel who weren’t offered jobs at Brean worked in support roles. There also were a few salesmen in the mix, including Kenneth Clisham.

Others who either declined to move to Brean or weren’t offered positions included capital-markets head Brian Bernard and banker Solomon Berkoff. Those remaining on board include sales chief Pradeep Brian Pereira, along with David Markey, Andrew Schoenfeld, James Showers and Paul Tedeschi.

Under the merger, Hunt Cos. affiliate Hunt Capital bought a minority stake in Brean, which in turn absorbed Hunt Financial on Nov. 23.

For Hunt Cos., which began assembling Hunt Financial in early 2017, the arrangement offers continued access to the banking, sales and trading services it hoped to gain through that operation — presumably at a lower cost than an in-house unit. Brean gets broader structured-product coverage and access to more capital, plus a captive client in Hunt.

Hunt Financial’s emergence as a structured-product broker was unusually rapid, with the firm assembling a large team of experienced professionals stationed mostly in Rye, N.Y. But it lost some steam with the February firing of former Jefferies executive William Jennings, whom it had hired to lead the buildup. Jennings is suing Hunt for wrongful termination, seeking $72 million of damages.

Brean is led by Robert Fine in New York.