Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Exclusive: Houlihan Lokey hires Ellison as head of fintech

Illustration of two hands shaking with money shapes and textures surrounding them

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Houlihan Lokey named former Jefferies Vice Chairman and OurCrowd Chairman Alec Ellison as global head of fintech, the boutique investment bank told Axios exclusively on Monday.

Why it matters: The new group's creation comes as the firm sees opportunity for new kinds of fintech dealmaking in 2023 after last year's slowdown.

Driving the news: "We had a time of rapid over-financing. There's a tremendous amount of rationalization and consolidation that needs to happen," says Ellison.

  • "It's a really opportune time to play a key role in this rationalization through M&A, occasional restructurings, and helping finance companies that deserves to be financed," he adds.
  • The group plans to hire more to add to its 30-or-so headcount spread across New York, London, and Los Angeles.

Of note: Ellison has also been named Chief Innovation Officer of Corporate Finance, a role that tasks him with testing ways that technology such as A.I. could benefit Houlihan Lokey itself.

Context: The fintech industry is in the midst of a series of seismic shifts that could create a whole new class of winners — and a whole new set of deals.

  • The Fed began hiking interest rates last year, tightening up financiers' purse strings but also forcing fintechs to rethink their business models that were created in a zero-interest environment.
  • Silicon Valley Bank's failure simultaneously put a renewed focus on regulation (which may drive even more dealmaking in the regtech space), and also gave fintechs an opening to win business against the incumbents.

Background: Houlihan Lokey has worked on fintech deals in the past, though traditionally through its tech or financial institutions group. The creation of a consolidated group for fintech signals that the bank believes it is a growing category in the long term.

Bottom line: "The rounds that were happening last year were lots of SAFEs and CLAs. These, I call it the equity version of extending pretend," says Ellison. "Well, extend and pretend has come to an end."

Go deeper
Axios Pro

This article is currently free.