Greenhill & Co., Inc. (NYSE:GHL) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
May 03, 2018 • 04:30 pm ET
(Operator Instructions) The first question comes from Devin Ryan at JMP Securities.
Hey, great. Good afternoon, Scott. How are you?
Good. How are you, Devin?
Doing well, and congratulations on the strong start of the year. I guess, maybe just start with a really high level question. Just love to just get some more characterization around the environment. I guess, I kind of get what helped the first quarter, but just trying to think about, are those themes kind of still in place? If any perspective on the backlog? Is Europe still gaining steam? Obviously, a good result there. And then, any sectors that are kind of sticking out to you as well as kind of feeling like activities picking up?
I think it certainly feels like a quite positive M&A environment. I mean, there have been something like 3 times as many deals, $5 billion or greater announced in the year-to-date than last year. Those have kind of crossed a lot of different industries. I think the US and certainly, now Europe are the strongest two markets, but we're seeing good opportunities elsewhere as well. So look, I think it's one of the better M&A environments we've seen, I think, in quite a long time. There's never any guarantee that's going to last for a long time. You could always have some external event that slows things down, but as we sit here today, it feels like there's -- fine, let's put it this way, the clients are very, very open to the idea of talking about strategic transactions, particularly toward the larger end, in terms of size.
Got it. Okay great. And then, I just wanted -- I heard kind of the comments at the end of the call around recruiting, and we've seen the hires that you've added in recent months. I guess, one, where is the management director headcount now? And then, it sounds like there's an expectation that there could be more kind of senior banker additions, kind of through the rest of the year. So I know they're not on the platform until they've signed on the dotted line, but are there any sectors that we should be thinking about that you'd like to bulk up? And then, are there any other advisory businesses that you feel like you want to be in or be bigger in that maybe aren't just M&A focused?
Yeah. So to touch on each of those, as we noted in the press release, we have 71 client-facing managing directors, including the various recruits we've just talked about. And we'll include that, going forward, press release just because it tends to be a question. Yes, I do expect we'll probably have more recruits. I -- frankly, I think, probably, at least a few more and it could be considerably more than that. It's always, as you said, you can't really count these things until they're done. But we have a lot of interesting dialogues going on. I would say most of