Siebert to merge with Williams, creating No. 1 U.S. MWBE investment bank

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Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co. and The Williams Capital Group announced Thursday that they will merge the firms in a transaction that will create the largest minority- and women-owned investment bank in the U.S.

The new company will be called Siebert Williams Shank & Co. It will leverage each firm’s experience and industry positions in corporate and municipal underwriting, as well as debt and equity sales and trading.

Suzanne Shank will serve as president and chief executive officer and Christopher Williams will serve as chairman of the board of directors. Henry Cisneros will remain a principal of the combined firm and will hold the title of vice chairman. The merged company will have dual headquarters in New York City and Oakland, California with more than 15 offices across the nation.
“By bringing together two first-class firms, we will accelerate our collective success and greatly enhance our ability to serve our clients using a strong capital base that is now significantly larger,” Shank said. “We are creating the No. 1 ranked MWBE investment banking firm in the country that will continue to compete with the best firms on Wall Street. Williams was the only firm with the capabilities, talent, and integrity in the corporate underwriting space that we felt expanded our franchise and matched our work-ethic and high-standards of performance, and now, we have created a truly historic firm."

Shank told The Bond Buyer that this was a "real merger of two companies at a time of strength for both firms." She added that it was very timely given the rise of taxable bond issuance in the municipal marketplace and Williams has extensive experience with taxables.

"We will have a larger capital base and our bond desk will see a big expansion," she said. "We will be able to continue to compete with the other big firms. It's a very exciting time for us."

The new organization will benefit from the experienced executive leadership of each firm, while using the principals’ shared passion for entrepreneurship, day-to-day client engagement and their track record of doing what is best for their clients, employees and communities.
“I am enthusiastic about playing a key role in leading and driving the growth of this dynamic organization that combines two extraordinary teams of talented and diverse individuals, each with the singular goal of providing the highest quality execution for our clients,” Chris Williams said. “Siebert and Williams are combining complementary business platforms, each from a position of strength, to execute a shared vision of growth with laser focus on risk management, operations, and regulatory compliance.”

Siebert was founded in 1996 and is a top-ranked lead manager of municipal bond transactions, the industry’s perennial leader among minority and women-owned firms and No. 2 among all firms as co-manager of municipal bond offerings. The firm has participated in almost 2,000 municipal financings in the past five years and has been lead manager on over 200 financings totaling about $30 billion. The new firm's name also pays homage to Muriel Siebert, a co-founder of Siebert and the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.

Williams Capital, founded 25 years ago, has consistently held the No. 1 ranking as a co-manager of U.S. corporate debt. In the past five years, Williams has participated in more than 900 corporate offerings of debt and equity, both as a co-manager and bookrunner.

“This is a victory for the American way of enterprise,” Cisneros said. “The pairing of two firms that have achieved the top tier of their fields to create one firm that is not only the nation’s leading financial services WBE but also now occupies the rarefied air of one of the industry’s most successful multi-asset, non-bank financial players. I could not be more-proud of my partners.”
The merger is expected to close in early November with the renaming of the broker-dealer’s holding company to Shank Williams Cisneros, LLC, whose equity holders will also include Janice Savin Williams, Sean P. Duffy, William C. Thompson, Gary Hall, Jonathan W. Levin, DiAnne Calabrisotto, David Coard, and David Finkelstein.

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