Marlin & Associates
The financial technology market is “not geographically defined,” says Kenneth Marlin. The same can be said of Marlin & Associates, the investment banking boutique he founded in 2002. Most of its 15 people are in New York, but its advisory business is literally all over the map. Half of Marlin’s transactions have involved a non-U.S. buyer or seller. The firm’s growing list of deals is a chronicle of technology’s evolution and globalization — in health care and information technology as well as finance. In the firm’s chosen financial tech segments, “we do more transactions than anybody,” boasts Marlin, a former North America CEO of market data company Telekurs who also worked in M&A at Dun & Bradstreet and in private equity at Veronis Suhler Stevenson. “There is always innovation going on — a ton of innovation,” says Marlin, contributing to a steady churn of deal making and consolidation in the highly entrepreneurial tech marketplace. There was no letup during the economic downturn: Marlin advised high-performance database supplier Vhayu Technologies Corp. on its 2009 sale to Thomson Reuters; NYSE Euronext on its sale of European data distribution subsidiary Hugin Group, also in 2009 to Thomson Reuters; Australian market surveillance systems company Smarts Group on its 2010 acquisition by Nasdaq OMX Group (see Robert Greifeld, No. 8); and the Swift cooperative on its purchase of the Ambit Messaging Hub (see Lázaro Campos, No. 23). Late last year a unit of the Qatar Financial Centre Authority hired Marlin to close a deal for London reinsurance industry processor RI3K precisely because of the boutique’s international track record and independence, its founder says.