Solyndra, Ener1, and now Kaufman Bros – The current economy may not be very good at creating jobs, even minority-focused ones, but its track record in inverse job creation is rapidly becoming second to none. Bloomberg reports that “Kaufman Bros. LP, the minority-owned investment bank that helped unwind U.S. stakes in bailed-out financial companies, ceased operations as of yesterday, according to a notice posted on its website. Chief Executive Officer Benny Lorenzo told employees that New York-based Kaufman was closing immediately in a meeting yesterday after trading closed, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Neither Lorenzo nor Chief Financial Officer Gerard Durkin returned messages left on their office and mobile phones yesterday and today.” More amusing is the following description: “The company, which also has offices in San Francisco, said it was sought out by institutional investors, hedge funds and government agencies to help meet diversity goals.” No comment. The closure notice can be found on the company’s website. And so another bank bites the dust. Many more coming.
Kaufman was founded in 1995 and billed itself as “the country’s largest minority-owned and operated investment banking and advisory firm” focused on technology, media, telecommunications, green technology and health care. The firm said in June that it helped advisory clients raise more than $50 billion since 1999.
The company, which also has offices in San Francisco, said it was sought out by institutional investors, hedge funds and government agencies to help meet diversity goals. Kaufman’s website said the firm participated in public offerings of Citigroup Inc. and American International Group Inc. as the U.S. Treasury Department disposed of stakes accumulated when it bailed out the firms during the financial crisis.
Lorenzo was born in the Dominican Republic and holds degrees from Cornell University and Harvard Business School, according to a company statement. He acquired a majority stake in March 2009 and became chairman and CEO in June of that year, according to the firm. Co-founder Craig Kaufman ceded those titles and became a managing director with co-founder Robert Kaufman, the firm said. Craig Kaufman didn’t respond to a message left at his office.
And here is why bank earnings in Q1 are going to be the worst yet: