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Kriscore Financial inks pact with two boutique investment banking firms in US and Japan

The Economic Times:  April, 2015

Mumbai: Kriscore Financial Advisors, founded by former Lazard India head K Balakrishnan, has entered into strategic alliances with two boutique investment banking firms in the US and Japan, as it aims to cut more of increasing cross-border deals.

Mumbai-based Kriscore has tied up with Chicago-based XMS Capital Partners, founded by former executives of Morgan Stanley, Lazard and Lehman Brothers. John Yogi Spence co-founded XMS Capital in 2006 with his long-time friend and colleague Ted Bromach. Before starting XMS, Yogi served 17 years at Morgan Stanley where he rose to become its managing director.

The Japanese firm that joined hands with Kriscore is Tokyo-based Nakamura Arai Partners, founded by former Mitsubishi UFJ Securities executive Masayoshi Nakamura. "These alliances will help us focus on deal flows from Japan and North America into India and vice-versa," Balakrishnan said.

Japan and North America have emerged as the focus markets for local investment banking firms as companies there are looking to boost presence in India's fast-growing market.

India has emerged as the No. 1 investment destination for Japanese firms, with a study conducted by Japan Bank for International Cooperation estimating investments of Rs 75,000 crore to come to India over the next two-three years.

Balakrishnan, known widely in the industry as Bala, founded Kriscore in October 2013 after a long innings at Lazard and before that at HSBC. Kriscore is now an eight-member team with an office in Mumbai's business hub of Bandra-Kurla Complex.

"The journey has been good so far. We have some interesting transactions in the pipeline," said Balakrishnan, who fully owns the boutique firm. He had earlier told ET that he would offer a stake to a foreign partner as that would help open up global opportunities.

Balakrishnan had re-established Lazard's business from scratch in India. His strategy of not going for mandates that didn't make business sense paid off, with his team closing 50 transactions in nine years.