EXCLUSIVE: Craig Schiffer to lead Cowen Finance

The former banker was previously an external adviser to Cowen Group, which is starting a lending business.

Craig Schiffer, who has spent over 30 years in the banking industry, has been appointed to lead the new Cowen Finance business, PDI has learned. Cowen Finance is a mid-market lending platform that Cowen Group announced it was launching last month.

Schiffer began his career at the now defunct Lehman Brothers, where he worked from 1978 to 1996. He was also a managing director at Nomura from 1997 to 2003. After that, he worked at Dresdner Kleinwort (the British bank that was acquired by German Commerzbank AG in 2009) from 2000 to 2006, heading up the Americas business as chief executive in the latter three years. Since 2009, Schiffer was with the boutique investment bank and management advisory firm he co-founded, Sevara Partners, according to his LinkedIn profile. The phone number at the firm’s New York offices has been disconnected and Schiffer did not return calls when reached at Cowen. Schiffer was previously an external advisor to Cowen Group, sources tell PDI. A spokeswoman for Cowen declined to comment.

Schiffer’s LinkedIn profile also lists him at Tribeca Land & Cattle, a company with offices in the same building as Cowen’s New York headquarters, at 599 Lexington Ave. Further information about the company couldn’t be learned by press time. Schiffer, and his wife, Amy, had formed a fellowship endowment by the same name at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Schiffer’s alma mater.

Cowen Group is making an initial equity investment in the lending business of up to $125 million. The New York-based firm runs an investment banking division under Cowen and Company and asset management under alternative investment firm Ramius, which it acquired in 2009. Cowen Finance will work alongside Cowen and Company’s investment banking and debt capital markets businesses to originate and syndicate loans and provide a range of credit capital to the firm's corporate clients, said the firm’s previously issued announcement.  

Cowen Group was founded in 1918 and is headquartered in New York. It has six additional offices in major US cities, as well as in London, Hong Kong and Luxembourg.