Ex-Cantor Fitzgerald European CEO, James Rowsell, has returned to finance after two years out

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James Rowsell, the former European CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald who oversaw its rapid expansion, has returned to the financial sector.

Rowsell has just joined Bob & Co, according to regulatory filings, his first role in the City since leaving Cantor Fitzgerald in 2014. Bob & Co finances both movies and factual entertainment and documentaries, but also has an FCA regulated advisory arm – Bob & Co Partners LLP – which engages in corporate finance work for the media sector.

Rowsell oversaw an aggressive expansion at Cantor Fitzgerald outside of its home U.S market during his three years in charge from 2011-2014. Under his direction, Cantor stated its intention to expand into a full-service investment bank and to hire across equities, investment banking and fixed income.

However, it continued to post losses - $28m in 2011, $18m in 2012 and $1.7m in 2013. In June 2012, Cantor's European arm had 121 regulated employees, a figure which hit 149 at its peak in April 2014. By November 2014, Cantor's regulated headcount had shrunk to 128 people.

Rowsell appears to have been taking a career break for the past two years. This is his first regulated role since leaving Cantor in 2014. His LinkedIn profile suggests he’s residing in Tauton, Somerset overseeing a thoroughbred stud farm called Ashbrittle Stud. He has, however, owned that business since 2000.

Before joining Cantor Fitzgerald, Rowsell was European CEO of MF Global for nearly two years from January 2009 to November 2010. He spent seven years as an MD at the firm before taking the helm.

Rowsell also spent three years as global head of sales for European cash equities at Citi.

It’s not yet clear what role he’s taking at Bob & Co, but there are two senior bankers focused on its advisory arm. Jonathan Evans, the former head of equities at London Victoria, is managing partner while former RBS investment banker Patrick Davidson-Houston has worked at the firm since 2014.

Its founder and CEO, Bob Benton, is a former managing director and head of media at Canaccord Adams and ex-CEO of Ingenious Securities.


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