Money management executives are cautiously optimistic about the new year, but their investment bankers — anticipating a pent-up wave of industry reshuffling — sound downright bullish.
"We're expecting quite an exciting year" — a sharp pickup in merger and acquisition activity with some fairly sizable transactions to boot, said Donald H. Putnam, chief executive officer and managing director of Putnam Lovell NBF, a San Francisco-based investment bank focused on the financial services sector.
Few major deals were announced in 2004, after New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's September 2003 announcement of the first of many market-timing settlements sparked a regulatory inquisition that left industry executives unsure what their world would look like when the dust settled.
The last 12 months have been a case of "the dog that didn't bark," said Matthew R. Barger, deputy chairman of Hellman & Friedman LLC, a San Francisco-based private equity firm that invests in asset management companies.
The coming year should be different, with investment bankers and money management executives saying the pressures percolating over the past 15 months have had time to work their way through the industry.