The Fintech Finance 40: Steven Pierson
President, Lovell Minnick Partners
Currently ranked: 36
Previously ranked: PNR
In more than two decades as an investment banker, Steven Pierson has racked up an impressive deal-making résumé. Starting at Putnam Lovell in 1995 and continuing with the financial institutions groups of Credit Suisse and UBS from 2007 to 2016, he has a track record that includes State Street Corp.’s $4.5 billion acquisition of Investors Bank & Trust Co.; the $3 billion sale of Worldpay from RBS Group to Advent International and Bain Capital; Goldman Sachs Group’s $530 million purchase of Hull Group; and the IPOs of Markit, Moelis & Co., and Virtu Financial, among others.
In June 2016, Pierson crossed over to private equity as president of Lovell Minnick Partners, a firm formed in 1999 that traces its roots back to the old Putnam Lovell. The Radnor, Pennsylvania–based firm’s fourth, $750 million fund, which closed in October 2015 and is about 60 percent invested, looks nominally at “asset management, financial product distribution, insurance and securities brokerage, banks, specialty finance, and related technology and business services.” But Pierson says it all comes down to “technology-enabled services” in the financial sector — though Lovell Minnick avoids investing in early-stage, consumer-facing, and retail fintech businesses.
Pierson serves as a board member at 2017 portfolio investments Engage People, an outsourced payments platform for loyalty programs; Global Financial Credit, a commercial and consumer financing provider in the health care market; and Spain’s Trea Asset Management. Online equipment financer Currency Capital, fund distribution and compliance servicer Foreside Financial Group, and working capital solutions company LSQ Funding are other Fund IV investments.
Pierson points out that financial services was a “technology-driven business” long before fintech became the rage. After joining UBS in 2013, he served on the executive committee for its fintech strategic investment group and led the bank’s investment in wealth management tech company SigFig, which entered into a strategic alliance with UBS and has since partnered with other banks.
It is Pierson’s belief that many of today’s disruptive upstarts will end up partnering with or being acquired by strong incumbents.