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Stifel Names Activism Adviser to Build New Defense Practice

Stifel Financial Corp. has started a shareholder activism defense practice that will be led by former CamberView Partners executive Juan Bonifacino.

The new unit aims to help midsize companies respond to activist campaigns and contested elections as well as prepare proactive defense strategies, Bonifacino said.

“We’re going to be focused on a lot of companies that Stifel works with, which are middle market companies,” he said in an interview. “This is really companies that are typically below $2 billion, which is where most of the activism ends up occurring.”

Bonifacino, who joined the firm as managing director late last year, previously was a principal at CamberView, a corporate governance advisory firm that advises public companies dealing with proxy contests, shareholder activism and other contested situations.

Before CamberView, he spent six years at Institutional Shareholders Services Inc., where he served as vice president of mergers and proxy contests.

Bonifacino said advising clients on how to defend themselves against shareholder activists is an important addition to the tool kit offered by the St. Louis-based investment bank.

“It’s a part of risk management for boards to think about what would they do if an activist gets involved because it is a significant risk to the implementation of their strategy,” he said.

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