Literally, merchant bankers are businessmen who become bankers. Historically, they were successful businessmen offering operational and transactional expertise, together with a deep knowledge of capital markets, to other business owners.
According to financial historians like Dr. K. Ramesha of the Indian National Institute of Bank Management, “These skills include those inherent in an entrepreneur, a management advisor, a commercial and/or investment banker plus that of a transaction broker. Today a merchant banker is [someone] who has the ability to merchandise – that is, create or expand a need – and fulfill capital requirements.”
We believe that the foundation of merchant banking is a focus on relationships. The nature of the work and the key to success is the ability to function as a trusted, independent advisor, agent, partner, or principal. This fundamentally differs from the focus of investment banks today, which is on generating fees from trading. The largely self-serving nature of trading is inconsistent with maintaining objectivity while advising clients. Further, it orients the firm toward short-term returns instead of long-term relationships.
The Kirchner Group is patterned after the original model for a merchant bank. Our team is comprised of successful business people who now apply their operational, transactional and investment experience to the unique needs of early- and mid-stage companies and their investors. We pride ourselves in both the quality and quantity of the long-term relationships we have built over the last 30 years.
We believe and our success confirms that today in North American, the early- and mid-market businesses want what the 18th-century merchant bank pioneered – a trusted, one-stop source for help in creating value.