Standard Chartered buys Gryphon

Standard Chartered buys boutique firm Gryphon Partners to strengthen its advisory capabilities in the mining sector in Australia and Canada.

Standard Chartered continues to build its advisory capabilities, buying Gryphon Partners, a natural resources-focused boutique, to strengthen its mining and metals offering.

Creagh O'Connor

Gryphon provides corporate and project advisory services with a focus on the resources and energy sectors. It was founded in Australia in 2003 by Rob Greenslade and Creagh O’Connor, and expanded to Canada in 2008.

“The acquisition of resource assets is a top priority for Standard Chartered’s clients across its footprint, especially in Asia, and the addition of Gryphon Partners will enable the bank to support this client base through offering an enhanced cross-border mining and metals advisory service,” said Standard Chartered yesterday, in a written statement.

And the statement is spot on. On Friday a consortium of five Chinese steelmakers invested $1.95 billion for a 15% stake in Brazilian niobium producer, Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineracao (CBMM). The deal followed an investment in March of a similar amount by a consortium of Japanese and Korean companies. Sell-side adviser Deutsche Bank (as well as Goldman Sachs and UBS, which advised on the buy-side on the first and second investment respectively) likely banked substantial M&A fees on the deal.

Standard Chartered will be hoping that it can win similar deals, allowing its advisory business to neatly segue into its lending business.

The bank also drew a parallel between the current deal and a 2007 deal in which Standard Chartered bought Harrison Lovegrove. Harrison Lovegrove was, at the time, a global oil-and-gas M&A advisory boutique, with offices in London, Moscow, Kuala Lumpur, Perth, Calgary and Houston, and a research centre in Washington DC.

A team of 22 people from Gryphon, who are based across offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Toronto and Vancouver, will join Standard Chartered in corporate finance and client coverage.

The Gryphon deal follows the acquisition by Standard Chartered of brokerage firm Cazenove Asia in 2008. The Cazenove deal strengthened Standard Chartered’s position across the spectrum of equities products.

Standard Chartered is building its capabilities across regions, with the stated intent of providing its core clients with better products and services. Last week Standard Chartered also announced a senior hire in New York, appointing Jeremy Bollington regional head of the origination and client coverage business for the Americas. Bollington will lead the client coverage team in the Americas. He joined Standard Chartered from rival HSBC where he worked across Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas.

Standard Chartered’s North American corporate business is “focused on covering large multinational clients with significant presence in and/or trade flows to/from our major footprint markets”, clarified a Standard Chartered spokesperson in response to a query.

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