May 8, 2013 / 8:42 PM / 6 years ago

Guggenheim lands Barclays retail team as flight to boutiques continues

May 8 (Reuters) - Guggenheim Partners has poached senior bankers from Barclays Plc’s retail team as the $180 billion asset manager looks to bolster its investment banking business.

The moves highlight a broader trend across Wall Street - senior bulge bracket bankers defecting to boutiques with less regulatory scrutiny and more favorable compensation structures.

New York and Chicago-based Guggenheim has hired former Barclays head of investment banking for retail companies and vice chairman Andrew Taussig as well as managing directors Spencer Hart, Matthew Pilla, Ken Harada and Ryan Mash, the firm said in a press release last week.

Prior to Barclays, Taussig, Hart, Pilla and Harada all worked together at Credit Suisse First Boston and Lehman Brothers.

Taussig, one of the most prominent retail bankers on Wall Street, has worked with large retail companies including Reebok International Ltd, Home Depot Inc, CVS Caremark Corp and Staples Inc.

The group joins Peter Comisar, a former Goldman Sachs banker, and now vice chairman and head of West Coast banking for Guggenheim who joined the firm in 2009 and has worked on retail deals including teen retailer Hot Topic Inc’s recent sale to Sycamore Partners for about $600 million.

Guggenheim also announced on Wednesday it had advised Foot Locker Inc in its acquisition of German shoe store chain Runners Point Group for around $94 million.

Guggenheim is looking to build out its presence in investment banking, restructuring, real estate and digital media by hiring aggressively. Recent hires include former Jefferies banker Michael Henkin as co-head of its restructuring practice, former Apollo Global Management LLC executive Henry Silverman as global head of real estate and infrastructure and former Yahoo! executive Ross Levinsohn, who is heading up a new digital media unit at the firm.

In 2009, Guggenheim brought in former Bear Stearns CEO Alan Schwartz to help the firm expand.

Guggenheim’s expansion comes at a time of tumult at Wall Street’s bulge bracket banks. Bank consolidation as well as a focus on reducing leverage has caused mass layoffs.

At large banks, new regulations and corporate governance reforms are also pushing firms to place more pay in company stock and deferrals over a period of years. This has caused a dramatic shift in not just how much bankers are getting paid, but when they get paid.

At Morgan Stanley, for example, high earners are seeing 100 percent of their bonuses deferred over three years.

Boutique banks, meanwhile, typically aren’t subject to the same compensation regulations as their larger peers and have enticed potential hires with all-cash bonuses, as Jefferies did in 2012.

Within the last several years, senior bankers have left large banks for boutiques like Guggenheim, Lazard Ltd, Evercore Partners Inc, Centerview Partners and Moelis.

“Many boutiques are growth companies with solid business models versus an unknown business model for a financial conglomerate where you’ve seen banking jobs eliminated,” said Michael Wong, an analyst with Morningstar. “Boutiques have benefited from the exodus of people from these large banks.”

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