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A Bloomberg article today shone some light into Jefferies’ operations and the background of CEO Richard Handler. Many analysts have pointed to Handler as an asset to Jefferies and a reason why the investment bank isn’t headed into the ground like some are predicting.Aside from 21 years of commitment to the firm—Handler rose to CEO from the head of high-yield capital markets group—Handler also has another stake Jefferies: a 6.04% share of the company, he’s Jefferies’ biggest individual shareholder.
The Jefferies CEO owns a bigger share of his company than CEOs at the biggest Wall Street banks, with a 6 per cent stake that dwarfs the 0.43 per cent Lloyd Blankfein holds in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and the 0.05 per cent of Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
We took a look at Jefferies’ other shareholders, and found another name among its top shareholders that perked our interest—Brian Friedman, the second largest individual shareholder.
Who is Friedman? He’s the chair of Jefferies’ executive committee and President of Jefferies’ Capital Partners. He’s also one of the two people that signed off on Jefferies’ six-page letter Monday, which assured investors that the company was stable. The other name on the letter was Handler’s.
Friedman owns 5,124,635 shares of Jefferies—around 2.57% of the company, according to a Nov. 15 SEC filing. The value of his shares have fallen from around $139 million (calculated on the yearly high price) in the last year to around $55.7 million now.
There are a lot of factors at play in the debate over Jefferies’ sustainability. This latest connection is another twist in the story, but it gives a bit of perspective over where some players’ priorities may lie.