Houlihan Lokey eyes European secondaries

The bulk of the investment bank's secondaries activity is currently US-based, but managing director Jeffrey Hammer believes there are significant opportunities in Europe.

Houlihan Lokey is focusing on the European secondaries market, although its current activity remains US-based, according to managing director Jeffrey Hammer, who co-heads the bank’s illiquid financial assets practice.

“We see significant opportunity in Europe and are moving swiftly to capitalise on the opportunity for IFA advisory in that region,” he said.

Houlihan Lokey’s illiquid financial assets practice largely works on sell-side transactions, although the group has the capability to assist buyers too.

“We have become much better at putting together proprietary transactions for buyers on a bespoke basis based upon our knowledge of ‘latent’ sellers who want to reduce exposure but do not want to go through an auction process,” Hammer said.

The illiquid financial assets practice was formed in 2009 as the secondary advisory group. Hammer and managing director Paul Sanabria led the group after working together at Bear Stearns. The group relaunched in September 2013 with five team members and has since expanded to 11 professionals. The most recent hire was Vishal Jhaveri, who joined in March as head of structured insurance and pension solutions. The new team is still led by Hammer and Sanabria.

Houlihan Lokey is comfortable with the current size of the team, although the bank is actively examining additional verticals to add to the practice, according to Hammer. Currently, the practice is engaged in more than half a dozen assignments.