28 June 2007

BMO Capital Markets Aims to Double US Revenue in 5 Years

Bloomberg, Doug Alexander, 28 June 2007

BMO Capital Markets, the investment banking unit of Bank of Montreal, plans to double its U.S. revenue in five years by hiring more investment bankers to boost advisory fees from mergers.

Canada's fourth-largest bank by assets has hired 13 senior investment bankers in the U.S. since November, David Casper, co-head of U.S. investment and corporate banking, said today in an interview. The bank may also add an advisory business in the U.S. to help financially troubled companies restructure.

``We continue to be excited about that opportunity as the cycle in business turns,'' said Casper. ``We think now is probably a good time to be looking at it.''

The firm's investment banking activities in advisory, leveraged finance, equity and debt capital markets are increasing revenue by "double digits," Casper said. The Toronto-based bank is focusing most of its U.S. business on companies with a market value of $50 million to $2 billion, he said.

"We view this to be a very, very high return business for the firm," Casper said.

The U.S. accounted for 40 percent of the C$860 million in profit last year at BMO Capital Markets, and 47 percent of its C$2.78 billion in revenue.

BMO Capital Markets may hire more investment bankers in the U.S., Casper said. The latest hire was Paul Hawkinson, 36, who joined from Bank of America on June 26. Hawkinson is based in Chicago and heads the bank's commercial and industrial group.