Financial independence Featured

5:59am EDT June 28, 2002
As the the consolidation wave washed over the financial services industry, Brown Gibbons Lang & Co. held fast to its status as an independent investment banking firm and continues to grow.

In 1989, then-35-year-old co-founder Michael Gibbons left behind a successful career as president and CEO of a Houston-based investment firm to return home to Cleveland and launch an investment house. With a close business associate, Kevin Brown, he formed Brown, Gibbons & Co.

The two were just setting up shop when Brown suddenly passed away. But Gibbons carried on, focused on what he knew best -- middle market investment banking.

Early success helped Gibbons expand both the firm and its client roster. He attributes that success in part to keeping the firm focused on investment banking.

"We're doing only one thing for our clients," Gibbons says. "We're representing them in a financial advisory position without regard to any other products or issues."

Scott Lang arrived in 1996 from a large Chicago capital investment firm, where he was executive vice president and managing director of investment banking. Today, he oversees BGL's Chicago office.

Gibbons and Lang both believe that investment banking firms and corporate financial institutions do not mix. That's why BGL remains independent, resisting numerous buyout offers from larger organizations.

The pair also credits the firm's success to the loyalty of its 40-plus investment bankers.

"It's a difficult process to keep people," says Gibbons. How to reach: Brown, Gibbons, Lang & Co., (216) 241-2800