The Online Finance 40: Dealmakers

Profiling: Kenneth Schiciano and Jonathan Meeks of TA Associates, Jane Wheeler of Evercore Partners, James Hale III and Robert Huret of FTVentures and Steven McLaughlin of Financial Technology Partners

Kenneth Schiciano and Jonathan Meeks

Managing Directors,

TA Associates

Not ranked last year

Investors in TA Associates, a Boston-based private equity firm that specializes in financial services and information technology companies, saw home-run returns last year. Many of those returns came from deals connecting TA to fellow professionals in the Online Finance 40, such as TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.and Atlanta’s IntercontinentalExchange. The dramatic 400 percent run-up in ICE’s stock price since its 2005 IPO earned backers in TA’s $10 billion portfolio “about a tenfold return,” says Kenneth Schiciano, 44, a managing director and 19-year TA veteran. Last year also saw the firm’s $100 million recapitalization of OpenLink Financial, a Uniondale, New York–based provider of trading and risk management software to banks and energy companies, and its $3.5 billion buyout of Boston’s ESecLending, a global electronic securities lending manager. In 2006, TA completed its sale of Chicago-based Quantitative Analytics to Thomson Corp. and its buyout of SmartStream Technologies, a London-based provider of banking and back-office software to more than 1,000 financial institutions globally. Indeed, the firm generated at least half of its revenues last year from international investment, notes managing director Jonathan Meeks, 34, who spearheads the firm’s financial technology investment. “We’re looking much more globally in these markets.”

Jane Wheeler

Senior Managing Director, Evercore Partners

Last year’s rank: 27

The bevy of financial technology deals that Jane Wheeler brought to Evercore Partners helped the New York–based boutique advisory firm, which went public last August, report a banner year in 2006: Earnings grew by 70 percent on a 48 percent jump in revenue. “People recognize that we’ve done this longer and we know the participants inside and out,” says Wheeler, 38, who joined Evercore from Morgan Stanley two years ago. “So when they go into battle to do their most important transactions, they like us by their side.” Among her victories of the past year: In September she advised IntercontinentalExchange on its acquisition of the New York Board of Trade for an estimated $1 billion; shares of the Atlanta-based electronic commodities market jumped more than 15 percent in the wake of the acquisition, adding more to its market capitalization than it paid for the NYBOT. In November she guided Silver Lake Partners through the sale of global agency broker Instinet, for which it had paid $207 million in 2005, to Japan’s Nomura Holdings for approximately $1.2 billion. In March she counseled TA Associates on its acquisition of ESecLending and in April she advised credit card processing giant First Data Corp. on its $29 billion leveraged buyout by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

James Hale III and Robert Huret

Managing Partners,


Last year’s rank: 24

Few private equity firms can claim as unique a position in the market as that held by FTVentures. The San Francisco–based venture capital company, which closed its third fund in December, invests on behalf of 38 institutional partners — including Bank of America Corp., Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. — and invests in software and service companies that cater to financial institutions. Thus the banks and financial firms that advise FTVentures partners James Hale III, 55, and Robert Huret, 62, about up-and-coming tech companies can turn around and become those companies’ customers. “Our limited partners spend more than $100 billion a year on IT and operations,” notes Hale. Adds Huret, “It’s kept us going.” Indeed. FTVentures has been busy on both the technology and services sides of its portfolio. In the past year it invested in Israel’s GigaSpaces Technologies, which develops software solutions to make data centers more efficient, and Palo Alto, California–based Financial Engines; it exited from PowerShares, a Wheaton, Illinois–based asset management firm that specializes in developing exchange-traded funds, and ExlService Holdings, an outsourcing firm headquartered in New York that specializes in back-office operations for financial services companies.

Steven McLaughlin

Managing Partner, Financial Technology Partners

Last year’s rank: 34

As an investment bank that’s focused exclusively on financial technology, San Francisco’s Financial Technology Partners finds it advantageous to not be a name-brand Wall Street firm. More often than not, a big bank or brokerage house is on the other side of the table negotiating the deals guided by Steven McLaughlin, founder and managing partner of FT Partners. In late 2005 the firm represented New York–based Investment Technology Group when it acquired Plexus, a developer of transaction cost-analysis systems, from JPMorgan Chase & Co., and again in early 2006 when it acquired privately held Macgregor Group, a leading provider of order management technology, for $230 million. Last month McLaughlin, a 38-year-old former Goldman, Sachs & Co. banker, advised Automated Trading Desk, a Charleston, South Carolina–based provider of automated trading and order execution systems, on its $680 million acquisition by Citigroup. FT Partners broke into the European market last year when it advised on the sale of White Plains, New York–based Communicator, operator of SecuritiesHub, to London’s Markit Group. “The financial technology sector continues to be a hotbed for entrepreneurs and capital providers to meet and create new ways of doing business,” says McLaughlin.

Come back tomorrow to view profiles of the Online Brokerages in the Online Finance 40.

Want to know where today’s profiles rank overall? Come back on Friday when we rank them all for you.

Banking profiles were released yesterday, click here if you missed it.