KBW adds firepower with hires to mortgage tech team

The investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods (KBW), a subsidiary of Stifel Financial Corp., has bolstered its fintech and financial services group with the hire of three veterans from investment bank Berkery, Noyes & Co.

John Guzzo and Jason White will be managing directors at KBW, with a focus on mortgage technology companies and related sectors. Alexander Nanas has also joined as a senior associate.

Guzzo spent 16 years at Berkery, Noyes & Co., where he led dozens of transactions, for example, the sale of ComplianceEase to SitusAMC, a portfolio company of Stone Point Capital. (Disclosure: Guzzo also represented the former owners of HousingWire in its sale to Clayton Collins-led Riomar Capital in 2016.)

White joined Berkery, Noyes & Co. in 2016. He led sell-side and buy-side mandates, including the sales of United States Appraisals to Stewart Title Insurance Company and Pharos to IMC.

“They understand how the emergence of innovative technology is challenging the industry status quo in the real estate and mortgage sectors,” said Keith Meyers, head of the fintech and financial services investment banking at KBW, in a statement. The company has 50 professionals in North America and Europe.

The executives will cover deals in the mortgage market. Originations are estimated to again reach about $4 trillion in 2021. “The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital mortgage. And we believe we’re really at the beginning of this revolution,” said Guzzo.

According to Guzzo, the industry is in a rare combination of massive consolidation and substantial technological innovation, ripe for mergers, acquisitions, and capital raises opportunities.

“Billions of dollars are being spent to either create and or acquire disruptive technology platforms, with the goal of automating,” added White. “Some businesses are very labor-intensive and often time-consuming through manual processes.”

Both Guzzo and White said that deals – including mergers, acquisitions, IPOs, etc. – have been highly active in the last couple of years, and they don’t see any sign of slowing down in 2022.

“The next five years will have continued activity, just because of how fragmented this market is and how much innovation is pouring into it,” said Guzzo. White added that “we will continue to see interest from large, publicly traded companies, as well as blank-check companies, called SPACs.”

Guzzo and White said an interview Wednesday that recent deals focused more on regulatory and compliance software companies within the mortgage and real estate sector. They have also been busy with deals in the appraisal and title spaces, they said.

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