Sandler O’Neill Hires Team of Professionals to Enhance Fixed Income Group

Industry Veterans David Connelly and Scott Buchta

Join Firm as Managing Directors

 Additions Broaden Client Base and

Significantly Strengthen Firm’s Distribution Platform

New York – April 13, 2011 – Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P., a full-service investment banking firm specializing in financial services companies, today announced the addition of a team of five sales professionals to its Chicago-based Fixed Income Group.

Among those joining the firm are David Connelly and Scott Buchta, both as Managing Directors. Together, Mr. Connelly and Mr. Buchta have over 50 years of experience in fixed income sales, trading and investment strategies across a wide range of Midwest-based clients including banks, insurance companies and hedge funds. Also joining the firm are Brian Vanselow, Kevin Smith and Michael Piper.

The additions to the Chicago-based team significantly strengthen Sandler O’Neill’s growing fixed income new issue distribution platform. Mr. Connelly will be responsible for growing Sandler O’Neill’s fixed income distribution in the Midwest as well as further broadening the firm’s relationships with non-bank financial companies such as insurance companies and money managers. Messrs. Vanselow, Smith and Piper will work alongside Mr. Connelly in this effort.

In his role at the firm, Mr. Buchta will be responsible for providing market insight and relative value trade ideas across the ABS, MBS and CMBS sectors. He will also assist in developing portfolio-level analytics that help clients identify risk and maximize returns from their structured products holdings. In addition, Mr. Buchta will focus on extending the firm's existing balance sheet management franchise to include non-depository institutions such as insurance companies and asset managers.

“We continue to add experienced leaders to all of our business groups, and the addition of David, Scott and their proven team of professionals significantly broadens our expertise,” said Jonathan Doyle, a Sandler O’Neill Managing Principal. “It is essential to us and our clients that we continue to enhance our position as a leader in fixed income services and adding skilled, seasoned professionals helps us achieve that goal.”

“The addition of this Chicago-based team is timely as we continue to bring new structured products to market,” added Alan Roth, a Principal in Fixed Income Trading at Sandler O’Neill. “This group brings a deep understanding of balance sheet management techniques and fixed income product knowledge. Each of these five new members of the Fixed Income Group will broaden our firm’s client relationships and enhance our already strong presence in the Midwest.”

“Sandler O’Neill is a natural fit for our collective backgrounds and we are thrilled to be part of a firm with a client-based approach to business and a culture of service,” Mr. Connelly said. “This is a great opportunity for each of us to join an established leader in serving financial institutions while extending the reach of the firm. We look forward to working together with the talented professionals at Sandler O’Neill and enhancing the firm’s sales and trading capabilities.”

Sandler O'Neill is one of the most active investment banks in merger advisory and capital raising for financial institutions. Since 2009, the firm has advised on 57 financial services merger transactions worth an aggregate of $13.2 billion. During that same period, Sandler O'Neill managed 94 public equity offerings that raised approximately $46.6 billion.1

About Mr. Connelly

Prior to joining Sandler O’Neill, Mr. Connelly served as Managing Director at Braver Stern Securities LLC. Mr. Connelly previously served as Senior Managing Director at Guggenheim Securities. Prior to that, Mr. Connelly was a 25-year veteran of Bear Stearns’ Mortgage-Backed Securities Department and served as Head of Bear Stearns Chicago Fixed Income Sales Group. Mr. Connelly graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelor of Science in Management.

About Mr. Buchta

Prior to joining Sandler O’Neill, Mr. Buchta served as Managing Director and Head of Investment Strategy for Braver Stern Securities LLC. Previously he was Managing Director and Head of the Investment Strategy Group at Guggenheim Capital Markets. He was a 20-year veteran of Bear Stearns’ Mortgage-Backed Securities Department and served as Senior Managing Director, Head of Bear Stearns Mortgage Products Group and was a senior member of the Portfolio Strategies team. Mr. Buchta graduated from Carroll University with a double major in Computer Science and Finance. 

1Merger transaction and capital raising statistics from SNL Financial LC as of April 8, 2011

About Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P.

Founded in 1988, Sandler O’Neill + Partners is a full-service investment banking firm dedicated to providing comprehensive, innovative advisory and transaction execution services to the financial industry. The firm specializes in strategic business planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, mutual-to-stock conversions, investment portfolio and interest rate risk management, fixed income securities transactions and mortgage finance restructurings. Sandler O’Neill also is a market maker in hundreds of financial stocks and publishes equity and fixed income research focused on selected banks, thrifts and insurance companies, credit card companies, investment banks, asset managers, specialty finance companies, e-finance companies, real estate investment trusts and transaction execution companies. Additional information about Sandler O’Neill can be found on the firm’s website at www.sandleroneill.com.

Steve Frankel / Nick Lamplough
Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher
212-355-4449

David Franecki
Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P.
212-466-8071