MADRID Jan 10 StormHarbour, a small investment
bank specialising in the financial sector, has opened an office
in Spain and hired a former top executive at Goldman Sachs as an
The firm said on Thursday that Juan del Rivero, a 23-year
veteran of Goldman Sachs and formerly chairman for Spain
and Portugal at the bank, would join as a senior adviser,
working with Gonzalo Chocano, head of Spanish origination in its
newly-launched Madrid base.
StormHarbour, established in 2009, focuses on sales and
trading and capital markets advisory, working closely with
financial institution clients. It is one of few such boutiques
to set up shop in Madrid recently, with many advisory firms
running Spanish teams from London instead.
"Southern Europe represents a significant opportunity for
the firm and is a key region for our ambitious European growth
strategy," said Antonio Cacorino, managing principal and
co-founder of StormHarbour.
Spain's struggling bank sector, hit by a burst real estate
bubble which led to a European bail out, has lured private
equity firms and distressed specialists keen to pick up cheap
assets. Deals have been slow to come together because sellers
have flinched at the steep discounts sought by such buyers.
But investment bankers predict that transactions are set to
pick up in 2013 because banks, forced to take big provisions on
their rotten property assets, have become more comfortable with
Nationalised banks such as Bankia have also had to
shift troubled real estate holdings into a so-called 'bad bank',
to be sold later. Many other lenders are looking to shrink their
balance sheets by shedding other types of loans too.
In December, Caixabank sold a property portfolio
to Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, while Popular shed a
consumer loan portfolio of just over 1 billion euros
StormHarbour also helps firms analyse illiquid assets and
has an asset management division. The investment bank hired
about 40 people in 2012, at a time when many big rivals were
retrenching. It took on former Lloyds Banking Group
chief executive Eric Daniels as a senior adviser a year ago. It
has around 170 employees across centres such as New York, Tokyo,
Hong Kong, Singapore and London.
Del Rivero, who is joining the Spanish team, retired from
Goldman in 2011 and has since held a number of advisory jobs
with a law firm and an asset management group, among others.
(Reporting by Sarah White; editing by Jesus Aguado and Jane