KBW launching new real estate unit

May.May 06, 2008 04:43 PM

KBW Inc., the Manhattan-based parent company of investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., on Monday named two Wachovia Securities executives to lead a new real estate unit.

Michael Hawkins and Robert Woomer were named principals of its new real estate investment banking business. Hawkins will focus on client coverage, while Woomer will lead the unit’s private equity team.

“With these significant hires, we have the core of an investment banking group in a very large and important sector,” said Andrew Senchak, vice chairman and president of investment banking at KBW, in a statement.

The announcement comes at a time when real estate firms are having a difficult time raising capital through traditional lenders and are looking for new sources of funding.

KBW said the new real estate unit compliments its existing real estate equity research, trading and institutional sales business.

The company has struggled in recent months in its core investment banking business, reporting a loss of $6 million, or 20 cents a share, in the first quarter, compared with net income of $7.7 million, or 24 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. The company had been expected to earn 26 cents a share, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Christopher Hanley, also from Wachovia Securities, will also join KBW’s real estate business as an associate. 

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