Profits soar at deals specialist STJ Advisors

Tim Wallace
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STJ brought in £9.8m in revenues last financial year
Profits more than tripled at equity dealmaking firm STJ Advisors in 2013-14, the firm’s financial reports show.

Since then it has benefited from the boom in the initial public offerings (IPO) market over 2014.

STJ brought in £9.8m in revenues last financial year, up from £3.9m in 2012-13. That resulted in profits of £7.03m, up from £2.3m in the previous 12-month period.

The firm has a very volatile model, as it only works on flotations. As a result it swings between lean years and feasts.

STJ and firms like it, such as Rothschild and Lazard, have proved relatively controversial in recent years.

The trio is part of a movement of independent advisers on equity deals, offering advice separate to that of the banks who work on selling the shares to investors.

STJ is by far the youngest of the three, and so is seen as an insurgent, taking revenues which banks would previously have taken themselves.

It has also been criticised for pricing shares at the top of expectations, hitting institutions who buy the shares.

However, the advisory firms argue they are working in the best interests of the client, the floating firm, which is normally a private equity group.

STJ is widely disliked in the City by the big bulge bracket banks, who think it adds little to the flotation process and has often helped to overprice issues such as Card Factory and Saga.

STJ is a limited liability partnership, which means it cannot retail profits, and instead pays them all out to partners.

The highest paid of the 22 partners, known as members at STJ, received £782,393 in profits last year.

The firm has just 33 people – three administrators, eight fee-earning employees, and 22 members.

Headcount is up by six on the year, as the firm hired two more fee-earning staff and appointed four more members.

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