Lazard Buys Verus, Adding Ex-CIBC Dealmaker Hanson in Canada Bet

  • Verus co-founder Hanson named CEO of Canada investment banking
  • Savard joins Lazard for role in Quebec, Atlantic Canada

Lazard Ltd., the largest independent investment bank, acquired Verus Partners, adding veteran dealmakers for expansion in Canada.

Brian Hanson, co-founder of Toronto-based Verus, was named chief executive officer of Lazard Canada investment banking, the buyer said Wednesday in a statement that didn’t disclose terms. Hanson has more than 25 years of advisory experience, including roles as vice chairman of CIBC World Markets and co-head of UBS Group AG’s mergers-and-acquisitions group in New York, according to the statement.

Wall Street boutiques have been making acquisitions, forging partnerships and hiring beyond the U.S. to help counter a stock slump fueled by concern that a decline in dealmaking could pressure fee income. Greenhill & Co. said in June that it was adding Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Steve Mayer as a managing director to oversee the firm’s Canadian business. Moelis & Co. announced this month an alliance with Alfaro, Davila & Rios to help a push into Mexico.

“Brian and his team bring to Lazard’s global network a number of Canada’s most experienced and knowledgeable advisers, who have deep relationships with Canada’s leading companies,” Alex Stern, CEO of Lazard financial advisory, said in the statement. “This combination augments the strength of our North American franchise as we continue to focus on growth by investing in our business worldwide.”

Verus’s Guy Savard, the former chairman of Merrill Lynch Canada, was named a senior adviser in the Quebec and Atlantic Canada regions. Also joining is Verus co-founder Richard Falconer, the former CIBC World Markets vice chairman who has been advising clients in Canada for more than 40 years, according to the statement.

Lazard has slumped 17 percent this year in New York trading after dropping 10 percent in 2015.