The top 25 Blacks on Wall St.

Author:Clarke, Caroline V.
Position::Cover Story

THINGS CHANGE RAPIDLY ON WALL STREET. Multimillion-dollar deals, multibillion-dollar firms and seemingly successful careers rise, fall and shift on a daily basis.

You need look no farther than BLACK ENTERPRISE s inaugural list of top investment bankers for evidence of the rapid changes that characterize this climate. Between the day the October 1992 issue went to press and the moment you received it, two of the men featured had already switched firms. Such changes within the list are likely to occur this time as well.

But some things never change. And that's the unqualified level of achievement that those who are featured in this article represent. After months of extensive research, BE has identified those African American analysts, traders and investment bankers who have reached the pinnacle of their profession, as indicated by the rank of their firms, their position within them, the significance of their areas of specialty and their sphere of influence both within and beyond their firms' walls. (Portfolio managers, asset managers and retail brokers were not included in our search.)

Not everyone is going to agree on who's been chosen--or who's not been. What no one would argue with, however, is that the 25 men and women featured in the profiles that follow, are marked by extraordinary accomplishment and longevity in what is one of the most demanding, unforgiving industries around.

They have reached, or are fast approaching, the top tiers of their firms (17 of the 25 are managing directors or partners), and with the exception of those three who head their own smaller companies, they are members of the world's largest, most prestigious investment banking houses. All but one of the 25 (Kevin Ingram, a managing, director at Deutsche Bank) work for a domestic firm.

Their achievements speak for themselves. Whether they're running major departments or desks, or managing core businesses, they have a measurable impact on their companies' bottom lines, routinely making a rapid-fire decisions that will cinch the transactions that keep the markets churning. And their sphere of influence doesn't stop there. Many of them sit on boards and give generously of their time, contacts and, yes, money, to charitable organizations, often to the specific benefit of the black community.

Typical of Wall Street, they're relatively young--ranging in age from 33 to 55--and quite wealthy, enjoying compensation packages that rival the astonishing pay scales of movie stars and pro athletes. To be eligible for the list, they had to have a 1996 compensation (including salary, bonus and stock options) of at least $500,000. By our estimates, the range fanned out to more than $3 million.

Although they are based in cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., the vast majority work in New York, the undisputed hub of the financial world.

As in 1992, only two of the 25 are women: Michelle Collins, a principal at Chicago's William Blair, and Patrice Daniels, a managing director at Bankers Trust in Los Angeles. The investment banking industry is notoriously male-oriented and inflexible; the culture--particularly on the trading floor--is testosterone-driven. While there is no shortage of women with the shrewd intellect, drive, skills and thick skin needed to thrive in such an environment, few ultimately retain the desire to operate in it. Of those who do, even fewer get the opportunity to advance.

African Americans who do well in such white male-dominated terrain usually boast power-packed resumes. This group is no exception. In total, they have 48 degrees. One attended a historically black college (Hampton); nine went to Ivy League schools (almost half of those to Harvard); 21 earned M.B.A.s, five have law degrees and three earned both.

They are among the best and brightest the investment banking community has to offer-black or white. They are managers, leaders and, in some cases, even legends within their areas of specialty. They are the "25 Top Blacks on Wall Street."

Ronald E. Blaylock


Ronald Blaylock likens the money game on Wall Street to sports. "It's about competition and winning," says the 36-year-old president and CEO, who hangs the tombstones of his firm's major deals in the hallway leading to the company's trading floor. Like a crafty coach, he looks for anything to inspire his team to greatness.

When the former PaineWebber trader opened Blaylock & Partners L.P. in late 1993, its only employees were himself and a temp. Just 18 months after he teamed up with John Utendahl to start Utendahl Capital Partners Blaylock was on his own, but armed with the backing of Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., his new form's limited partner. Blaylock quickly began by putting together impressive deals, including co-managing a $1.1 billion commercial mortgage-backed deal for the former Resolution Trust Corp. More recently, Blaylock & Partners lead-managed a $300 million corporate bond sale for the Tennessee Valley Authority, the first corporate bond sale in U.S. history to be managed exclusively by minority-owned firms.

At a time when many minority firms are reeling, Blaylock's firm is strengthening its reputation for structuring commercial mortgage-backed obligation deals for issuers with below investment-grade credit ratings. "That's an area where we can add a lot of value," says Blaylock, but he notes that the firm also does equity issues out of its recently opened Baltimore office.

Blaylock has always used competitive fire to achieve his goals, from his days at Georgetown University, where he earned a finance and marketing degree, to his days at PaineWebber, where he traded government securities while earning an executive M.B.A. from New York University on weekends. To succeed, he says you need "attitude and commitment. If you have that, the tombstones will follow."

Lloyd E. Campbell


He can't always tell you what he's working on or who his clients are, but rest assured Lloyd Campbell's working on something big. That's how it is in the world of private finance, where large cap companies and middle market firms ask Campbell to do finance deals they'd rather keep secret. Secret because, "If it becomes known that a firm is restructuring debt, in some cases it could make them a takeover target, or cost them an opportunity to acquire another firm," he explains.

Campbell is one of two managing directors who oversees 13 other members of the CS First Boston Private Finance Group. Working in groups of three to five, he helps structure leveraged buy outs, subordinated debt, acquisition financing and other equity transactions for firms with revenues ranging from $100 million to $1 billion. Recently, he has concentrated on selling securities of first-time issuers to pension funds.

Campbell knows pension funds because he began his career as an assistant investment officer for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association in 1980 before moving to First Boston in 1985. He says that after graduating from Georgetown University and earning a Wharton M.B.A., starting out on the buy side of the industry was the right move because, "I learned what you can and cannot do in structuring deals for your client and what the repercussions of certain moves are."

In this hush-hush business, relationships are key. Since Campbell networked with pension fund managers and heads of major corporations, he knows the concerns of both buyers and sellers. "It has helped me develop the skills of negotiating--listening to the client and then responding to that." And his clients respond in kind--70% are repeat customers. It's real tough to beat returns like that.

Michelle L. Collins


Fresh in out of school, with degrees from Yale and Harvard business school, Michelle Collins was urged to take the traditional investment banking route: Do a few years in New York, then bail out. More specifically, she recalls being advised to "join a very large firm with a very active EEOC department, because at some point, you're going to get stuck and you're really going to need it."

The Chicago native's choice to go to William Blair & Co. L.L.C. ignored all of that advice. "I wanted to be in a smaller firm," Collins explains. "I didn't want a lot of politics or bureaucracy, I just wanted to learn the business and do good work."

Her instincts have served her well. Although Collins was the first black woman to work for the firm outside of the secretarial pool, she was made partner (called "principal" at Blair) in 1992. Now 36, she has moved from being a generalist in the Corporate Finance Department to the head of its Specialty Retail Group. High on her list of priorities has been to expand her area more into the initial public offerings business. The recent strain in the specialty retail industry has made for exciting projects on Collins' end as companies try to develop new strategies and realignments that will be financially beneficial to them.

Last year, her equity financing team managed the underwriting of Marks Brothers Jewelers' (Nasdaq: MBJI) $45 million initial public offering, a transaction that involved the restructuring of nearly $110 million of outstanding debt within a very tight time frame.

Having recently celebrated 10 years at her firm, Collins says she "can't think of a more exciting place to be. I have my own business here. I have my own clients and I've developed real relationships with them.

"In New York, there's less allegiance to the firm than to the opportunity. There are a lot of appealing opportunities out there, but at the end of the day, I know I can contribute here. And I'm not done yet."

Patrice M. Daniels


Patrice Daniels claims that "an accident" led to her career on Wall Street.

It was a chance phone call to a friend at Bankers Trust that resulted in her departure from Hewlett-Packard in 1987, where she was corporate finance manager, to a new job as an associate in Bankers Trust Finance...

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