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Rating:Fund Banker on the Block Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, February 08, 2002

Fund Banker on the Block

Reported by Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

At least two banks are looking at buying Putnam Lovell, according to published reports. The two banks taking a look are reportedly National Bank of Canada and Macquarie Bank, an Australian firm. A sale would further signal the maturation of the fund business from an entrepreneurial stage in which personalities such as Don Putnam played a key roles, to a institutionalized industry.

Jeff Lovell told reporters that the firm is seeking partners, either buyers or joint venture partners that would leverage Putnam Lovell's franchise in financial services. No deal appears imminent.

Sources familiar with Putnam Lovell's business told MutualFundWire.com that the firm is facing a cash crunch after a falloff in its trading business. It has reportedly been on the market for a couple months.

Putnam Lovell has been a key advisor and banker for financial services firms seeking to raise capital or find merger and acquisition partners.

It had been one of the active players in assisting fund firms raise capital to pay commissions for broker commissions. Yet the decline in new sales and the growing willingness of fund firms to self-finance to meet that capital need has made that market shrink in recent years.

Putnam Lovell has become less important to the fund industry as Donald Putnam has pulled back from the business, one source noted. The energy of the firm has turned to Europe through its London office. Last year, Ian Brimecome took the title of co-head of investment banking, which he shares with Putnam.

As the firm matured it expanded its franchise into trading, venture capital and private equity. However, observers note that compared to Wall Street institutions its business remains fairly small and specialized, which may diminish its ability to survive independently in the current environment.  

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