Stifel dives into leveraged lending

The firm joins Houlihan Lokey among the investment banks to wade into the booming leveraged finance markets.

Stifel Financial has become the latest investment bank to add a leveraged finance platform and it is making four key hires to lead the new operation, including two former Jefferies bankers.

St. Louis-based Stifel has added Christopher Auld and Henry Lang as the co-heads of leveraged finance, the firm said in a statement. Auld was previously co-head of European leveraged finance at Jefferies, while Lang led leveraged loans and high-yield transactions in the industrials and energy sectors at the same investment bank.

In addition, Roger Gilbert and Peter Lapina joined as head of loan sales and head of loan trading, respectively. Both men are joining from Guggenheim Securities, where they held similar positions.

The new platform will originate and underwrite revolving credit facilities, both first and second lien term loans and high-yield securities for transactions of more than $150 million for companies with $40 million of EBITDA or higher. The leveraged finance platform will work with North American businesses – both those backed by a financial sponsor and those not.

A Stifel spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Investment bank Houlihan Lokey also launched a syndicated loan platform in July – in which HPS Investment Partners is an initial strategic investor – that can underwrite loans of up to $1 billion. Houlihan Lokey’s platform works only with financial sponsors.

The leveraged loan market has seen rapid growth in the years since the global financial crisis. In 2006, the market size stood at $399.74 billion, which has more than doubled to $1.1 trillion as of the end of August, according to data from LCD – part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.