Cowen Group, a mid-sized NY investment bank, hired CRT Capital’s former head of research sales, a former Merrill Lynch middle markets salesperson and a sales trader from RBC Capital Markets. The hires reflect Cowen’s continued expansion of its equities business targeted to under-served asset managers.
Cowen hired Brian Fitzgerald, CRT Capital’s former head of sales who left after it acquired Sterne Agee’s equity franchise. Before CRT, he spent 22 years as a sales trader at CIBC. He will be Managing Director, Co-Head of Emerging Growth Sales, focused on selling to smaller asset managers.
Fitzgerald will work with the other new Cowen sales hire, Todd Bertsch, who joins from Bank of America Merrill Lynch where he was Director of Middle Markets. Bertsch also has experience as a sales trader, having worked at Bear Stearns.
Cowen also picked up David Harnett, a veteran sales trader with 30 years of sales trading experience RBC Capital Markets and Credit Suisse First Boston.
Cowen is focusing its equities business on the under-served asset managers that the bulge firms treat as second class citizens. It has built a well-rounded equities business, acquiring the independent prime broker, Concept Capital to increase its access to smaller hedge funds.
Partly from the acquisition of Dahlman Rose in February 2013 and partly from organic growth, Cowen has doubled its research coverage from 400 stocks to over 800 stocks over the last five years. It is one of the larger equity research shops outside the bulge bracket.
Cowen has an affinity for sales traders, which have been increasingly pushed out of the bulge firms as the large trading desks increasingly focus on algorithmic trading. However, sales traders fit well with Cowen’s strategy of serving the smaller under-served asset managers who do not have as sophisticated trading desks and appreciate the high touch approach.