Sage Kelly has quietly assembled a team of more than 100 bankers at Cantor Fitzgerald’s New York headquarters in a big build out of its investment banking capabilities.
Since joining in 2016, the former head of healthcare investment banking at Jefferies has kept a low profile. But he has been hiring talent as part of a global build-out.
In the US, Kelly’s team is focused on providing M&A and financing to growth companies, with a bias towards healthcare and healthcare services and he has hired dozens of managing directors from across Wall Street. They includeTony Munoz, who Kelly worked with in the global healthcare group at UBS prior to moving to Jefferies while in 2017 the bank hoovered up RBC’s top healthcare banker Jason Schoenholtz along with biotech banker Noel Brown, and life sciences specialist Michael Kelly. Most recently the bank hired John Cramer who joined in the summer as a managing director in mergers and acquisitions from Oppenheimer.
Kelly has avoided big name hires so far, opting instead for what one headhunter referred to as “individual contributor hustler types.” This fits the approach Kelly developed under Benjamin Lorello at Jefferies.
While the healthcare team has grown under the radar, Kelly has been unable to keep the rest of the build-out away from the public gaze. In January his former firm Jefferies sued Cantor after Kelly recruited 24 London-based bankers last year from his old shop as part of a build-out of a 50-strong energy, power and infrastructure team.
Kelly and his former boss Ben Lorello can afford a wry smile – in 2009, the pair were accused of “surretiously planning” a mass defection from UBS to Jefferies. UBS sued Jefferies before the dispute was ‘amicably resolved.'
Sources say Kelly’s team is developing a reputation for showing up on small healthcare deals and reckon that the team accounts for the bulk of its corporate finance revenues. “He’s doing lots of small deals big banks wont do,” the headhunter said. To date Cantor has yet to breach the sector’s top 10 in terms of M&A revenues. But it’s a work in progress and fits with Cantor’s aim to take on Wall Street in select areas.
That also includes sales and trading where Cantor has been hiring under the watchful eye of Anshu Jain, the former co-CEO of Deutsche Bank who joined as President in 2018. The most recent arrival is Paul Mutter who joined at the start of the month as head of institutional client coverage from Goldman Sachs.
With Jain and Kelly on board, Cantor is the place where high-profile banking heavyweights go to restore their reputations.
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