Investment Banking Firm Celebrates Eleven Years in Business

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In a crowded space in investment banking, Watermark Advisors is passionate about helping companies grow stronger through corporate strategy and acquisitions.

Watermark Advisors just celebrated….. eleven years in business and its path is unique for an investment banking firm. “We began Watermark in 2002, right in the midst of big bank mergers where there was a perceived void to serve private companies in sell-side M&A and capital raises,” Executive Managing Director Hagen Rogers shares.  “By 2009 though we realized that over half of all businesses referred to us resulted in our communication back that they were not prepared for a transaction.” After years of “No’s” Rogers turned to former professors at the Owen Graduate School at Vanderbilt University, where he received his MBA and was on the school’s Alumni Board.  

Dr. David Furse, Adjunct Professor of Management at Owen met with Rogers and challenged him to solicit more information from the marketplace as to why so many companies were not ready for investment banking transactions. “We met or surveyed nearly 100 companies and discovered several fascinating takeaways. We learned that many companies are very knowledgeable about their industry, but could benefit from an outside expert with deep subject matter expertise in corporate strategy. While many had used management consultants before, they reported disappointment as they implemented the plans. Also, while most companies surveyed had a board of directors, they still believed they needed to reach out to external consultants for help in areas like strategy,” Rogers adds. “We found that too many companies either have a push strategy, which is not a great way to approach strategy, or a 12-month ‘long term’ view on strategy, which is not long enough, or they have holes in their strategy.”

Watermark also discovered that too many companies, both publicly and privately owned, were not utilizing acquisitions in their growth plans as frequently as they should. “On average, we found that companies that should be making three or more acquisitions over a span of ten years were making one or two at most. Studies show that companies that excel in becoming market leaders use M&A as a primary vehicle in order to grow. We believe M&A is an essential part of strategy once you reach a certain revenue benchmark. If you are not using M&A, then you must expect high organic growth.  For most in our analysis, high organic growth also was not happening,” Rogers shared. 

“Since M&A can be dangerous if you don’t have a great strategy, we believe the two go together and strategy leads M&A, not the other way around.” Watermark took action on these discoveries by adding Dr. David Furse to their team. “David brings over thirty years of corporate strategy experience and teaches it at the Executive MBA level at Vanderbilt. What we really like about David’s style is that he demystifies strategy for clients and helps create a highly actionable strategy where he places a great deal of emphasis on the first six months,” Rogers shares.

Watermark is finding success in its strategy and acquisition efforts for companies.  “In 2013, we have been helping a manufacturer identify new adjacent markets to expand into through an acquisition.  We also just finished working with a private company in helping them establish a five year strategy where ten of their senior management team worked with Dr. Furse to build a highly actionable strategy to increase revenue and grow profitability.”  

“It is very satisfying work to help companies identify and execute on strategy and acquisitions,” Rogers concludes.  “Our team is optimistic on where we are heading as a company and our place in creating value in the marketplace.”  

About Watermark Advisors
Watermark Advisors (Member FINRA/SIPC) offers top notch investment banking and valuation services as well as best -in- class advisors to position clients to prepare to win in an investment banking transaction, or to create business breakthroughs to take companies to the next level.  Visit Watermark Advisors online at  to learn more.

Media Contact:
Dee Grumbos

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Dee Grumbos
Watermark Advisors
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