04/10/2009

Lehman Alumnus Rolling Out Merchant Bank

A former Lehman Brothers executive has launched a firm with an ambitious strategy that includes an advisory arm, a broker-dealer platform and a fund operation.

The firm, Spring Hill Capital Partners, is headed by Kevin White, a former Lehman managing director. The buzz is that the firm is in the process of recruiting more than a dozen former senior executives of Lehman, Morgan Stanley and private-equity groups.

White worked at Lehman for 17 years. He spent part of that time as head of the institutional-client group and third-party sales, and also served as head of the syndicate desk of the securitized-products group.

White declined to discuss his plans for Spring Hill, but is evidently seeking to create a "structured-finance merchant bank" specializing in CMBS, residential MBS, asset-backed securities, CDOs and private-equity investments.

The company has leased office space at Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan, and market players said White has been seeking to line up investors to back the operation.

People familiar with Spring Hill's strategy said the company will seek to advise buyers and sellers of commercial, residential and consumer assets. Target clients include banks, REITs, insurance companies, CDO managers and investors. Among them are likely to be participants in the U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Reserve programs aimed at spurring the sale of toxic assets.

Spring Hill also plans to trade securities as a broker-dealer and to set up funds with an asset-backed focus, the sources said.

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