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JMP acquisition brings equities to Citizens, adds scale to industry coverage

The latest strategic move by Citizens aims to help it meet its goal of servicing bigger clients with more products.

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When Euromoney awarded Citizens the accolade of the US’s Best Bank in this year’s Awards for Excellence, shortly after the bank had announced its plan to acquire online deposits and 80 US branches from HSBC, and following a string of boutique purchases over preceding years, we noted that CEO Bruce Van Saun was “not done with acquisitions yet”.

And so it proved. In late July, after a pandemic year in which the bank was able to show a strong performance, the bank announced its acquisition of Investors Bancorp, which brought into its mix another consumer, small business and middle market franchise. Just days later, the bank expanded its financial valuation practice with the acquisition of Willamette Management Associates, a consulting and forensic analysis firm.

Bruce Van Saun, Citizens

But its latest venture, the $149 million cash acquisition of JMP Group that was announced on September 8, is probably Citizens’ biggest move yet in the realm of investment banking.

Previous acquisitions have been aimed more at building out sector advisory expertise, like the purchases of Western Reserve Partners in 2017 and Bowstring Advisors in 2019.

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