Changing technology, consumer behavior, and regulations force financial services companies, regardless of sector or geography, to re-evaluate what they do themselves versus with partners. Over the last five years, Water Street has helped nearly a dozen financial services companies structure new or exit existing joint ventures and partnerships. Companies enter new joint ventures and partnerships for a variety of reasons, including to gain market access, to reduce costs associated with the business, and to free smaller “start-up” businesses from the bureaucracy in place at most big businesses. JV exits typically involve one partner buying out the other, in order to take full control over a business believed to perform better if wholly-owned. We have also supported the Directors and Officers at over a dozen financial services joint ventures on issues related to strategy and growth, Board effectiveness, governance and decision-making, organization and talent, and conflicts introduced when owners are customers.
By pairing a broad range of proprietary tools, processes, and databases, with a diverse team that focuses exclusively on JVs and partnerships, we position our clients to successfully structure, restructure, and govern their most important joint ventures and partnerships. The Water Street approach reflects a deeply held belief that making joint ventures succeed requires a blend of hard facts and analytics with softer skills (such as influencing, communication, and negotiation skills) that are needed to align shareholders, with their often-differing interests, on an acceptable path forward.
Water Street Partners supports a wide range of financial services companies, including payments companies, consumer and corporate banks, insurance companies, stock markets, and asset managers. We work with a wide range of financial services partnerships, with a focus on bilateral joint ventures, typically completed to combine complementary capabilities (e.g., a bank partnering with a payments company to offer credit card programs), and shared utilities designed to support their owners (e.g., multiple health insurance companies partnering to consolidate their ancillary insurance businesses). We serve financial services clients on four continents – North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.