Top Chicago investment bankers John Pratt, Jeff Yingling exit – Finance News

on May24

24 May 2017 | 10:30 am

A wave of top Chicago investment bankers are leaving their firms, after a slowdown in dealmaking last year.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch veteran John Pratt, 61, will retire later this year, and Jeff Yingling will also leave his post at JPMorgan Chase in Chicago. Both men played leading roles in Chicago at their respective firms. In addition, Frank Oelerich, 56, recently left his leadership position at Deutsche Bank in Chicago.

Fee revenue from advising companies on buying and selling businesses fell last year across the industry as the total value of transactions declined for the first time in five years. Many big banks have also faced severe financial penalties in recent years as compliance requirements increased following the recession and regulators took them to task for infractions.

Pratt had been with the bank’s Merrill unit for 33 years, through its 2008 acquisition by Bank of America, and headed the Chicago office for nearly two decades, according to a memo that the New York firm shared with employees last month regarding his retirement.

“During his career, John has advised on more than $500 billion in strategic and capital-raising assignments on behalf of his clients, leading some of the industry’s most defining transactions,” the memo said. “He has also served as a valued partner and mentor to hundreds of our colleagues around the globe, exemplifying the very best of our people. John will be working with us over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition of these responsibilities.”

Yingling said he will leave the firm in June. Oelerich declined to comment.

Bank of America declined to comment on who will succeed Pratt at the firm. The company’s most senior banker in Chicago after Pratt’s departure will be Todd Kaplan, though Maureen Lesak has been assuming management of the office.

Total industry deal value last year dropped by about 17 percent, mainly because of a decline in $10 billion-plus transactions, according to a McKinsey report. That naturally led to a decline in advisory fees, which slid 6 percent last year, a Bloomberg Intelligence report said.

The revenue slide has sparked cost-cutting at some banks, including Morgan Stanley, over the past year, with Deutsche Bank in a full-blown restructuring to boost revenue and lower costs.

Younger firms that specialize in advisory services, including Greenhill and Evercore, last year outperformed the larger, full-service New York banks, Bloomberg said. Those bigger companies offer other services, like trading and wealth management.

The banker exits, and some firm-hopping, follow a round of changes that happened in the Chicago market back in 2014.

Some bankers are also jumping to other firms as the industry evolves. Matthew Parr swapped his position as a co-head of Morgan Stanley’s Chicago investment banking operation for a job at PJT Partners in Chicago, leaving his former co-head, Kristen Rossi, as Morgan Stanley’s head of Midwest investment banking.

PJT, the advisory firm started by former Morgan Stanley banker Paul Taubman, hasn’t had a significant presence in the Chicago market, but Parr said he plans to build up the firm’s advisory services team in the city. A spokeswoman for PJT declined to comment on the hiring or plans.

In another move, Joe McIntosh left Deutsche Bank this year to work as a banker at Sam Zell’s Chicago-based Equity Group Investments. McIntosh couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.

“He’s a great fit and we’re very happy he made the transition to join us in-house,” said EGI spokeswoman Terry Holt.



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