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Top 20 Lower Middle Market Investment Banks [Q4 2020]


We are excited to release Axial’s Q4 2020 Lower Middle Market Investment Banking League Tables.

Axial’s investment banking league tables take into account three core M&A advisory characteristics: client quality, buy-side targeting, and process effectiveness (for detailed methodology, see the end of this feature).

For CEOs and dealmakers in the lower middle market, these league tables are a useful barometer to measure how an investment bank ranks against its peers, and how effective they are in financing and selling lower middle market businesses in various sectors.

16 of the top 20 investment banks were new to the list in Q4, with the remaining 4 firms returning from Q3. 

733 investment banks brought deals to market using Axial in Q4. 

Here are the top 20.

Top 20 Investment Banks

Rank Firm HQ Score
1 Two Roads Advisors NY .99
2 Vertess AZ .99
3 Peakstone Group IL .98
4 Bryant Park Capital PA .98
5 Market Street Investor Relations TX .98
6 Auctus Capital Partners IL .98
7 Woodbridge International CT .97
8 FINNEA Group MI .97
9 Trafalgar Capital Partners DC .97
10 Aegis Acquisitions CA .96
11 SF&P Advisors FL .96
12 Sunfield Advisors NC .96
13 EdgePoint Capital Advisors OH .95
14 Salt Creek Partners TX .94
15 Sun Mergers & Acquisitions NJ .93
16 Good Hope Advisors NJ .92
17 Focus Investment Bankers VA .92
18 Trudeau & Trudeau Associates, Inc. MA .92
19 Axis Global Advisory CO .92
 20 Liberty Ridge Advisors WA .92


Honorable Mentions

Client Quality

Firm HQ
Vesticor MI
BCMS Corporate NY
Potomac Business Capital MD
Spektrum Capital Advisors NY
WhiteHorse Partners, LLC TN


Buyer Targeting

Firm HQ
CCC Investment Banking ON
New Direction Partners PA
Carter Morse & Goodrich CT
Business Capital Exchange MA
Evangeline Securities LA


Process Effectiveness

Firm HQ
Institutional Acquisition Partners TX
Greenwich Capital Group MI
Ascendant Advisory Group MT
Business Acquisition and Merger Associates NC
MNP Corporate Finance Inc. AB

Industry Specialists 

Firm HQ
Corum Group WA
Mertz Taggert FL
Paragon Ventures PA
Threadstone Advisors NY
Merritt Healthcare Advisors CT


About the Top 20




“Two Roads Advisors is a boutique investment bank focused on providing excellent advice on M&A, capital raises, and corporate strategy and performance to businesses at crossroads in their lifecycles. The Principals at Two Roads have a 15+ year track record completing transactions totaling over $15B in aggregate transaction value.”

Visit Two Roads Advisors’ Profile

Industries: Consumer, Health Care, Technology, Financial Services



“Vertess was formed by a visionary group of results-oriented professionals as an alternative to traditional M+A firms and investment banks. We focus primarily on your personal and professional goals and help facilitate transactions that make sense to you for the long term. We guarantee integrity, confidentiality and a commitment to the best outcome for you, your company and your family. Whether a start-up, a turnaround, the sale of your business or acquisition of another, we will provide outstanding, personal service.”

Visit Vertess’ Profile

Industries: Health Care, Life Sciences



“The Peakstone Group is an investment bank that specializes in mergers and acquisitions advisory and capital raising for middle market clients. Our team is comprised of senior investment banking professionals and operating executives, all of whom have decades of experience and have executed hundreds of transactions totaling billions of dollars.”

Visit Peakstone’s Profile

Industries: Business Services, Consumer & Retail, Distribution, Financial Services, Food & Beverage, Health & Wellness, Healthcare, Industrials & Manufacturing, Metals & Mining, Mortgage Banking, Paper, Plastics & Packaging, Real Estate, Technology & Data Services, Transportation & Logistics



“Founded in 1991, Bryant Park Capital (BPC) is an investment bank providing mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance advisory services to its clients. Our principal relationships exist with companies having revenues between $25 and $500 million. BPC professionals have a unique combination of experience, including experience in bulge-bracket investment banking, as principal investors, and as prior owners and operators of businesses. BPC excels in providing M&A advisory and capital raising services for complex deal structures, and has completed nearly 300 transactions worth over $35 billion in total value.”

Visit Bryant Park Capital’s Profile

Industries: Consumer Goods, Financial Services, Energy & Utilities, Business Services, Retail, Health Care, Industrials, Real Estate, Consumer Services, Distribution, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Media, Technology



“Market Street Investor Relations is a full service advisory firm helping to shape the public perception of their clients company’s by providing investors with a compelling reason to partner with them. Market Street provides strategy execution, market intelligence, communicates with stockholders and the wider community of financial analysts, and assists companies with capital raise efforts.”

Visit Market Street Investor Relations’ Profile

Industries: Industrials, Software, Transportation, Oil & Gas



“Auctus Capital Partners a multi-faceted financial group specializing in merger & acquisition advisory; institutional private placements of debt and equity; financial restructuring; valuation; and strategic consulting. In select situations, Auctus also provides debt/equity cash infusions to lower middle market companies through its affiliate Auctus Partners, L.P. Our experienced professionals have the foresight necessary to navigate through highly complicated transactions to maximize value for our clients.”

Visit Auctus Capital Partners’ Profile

Industries: Manufacturing, Consumer Goods, Industrials, Technology, Energy & Utilities, Retail, Business Services, Materials, Distribution, Health Care, Consumer Services, Media, Life Sciences, Telecommunications, Real Estate, Financial Services



“Woodbridge is an M&A firm with 19 offices in North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, providing clients with the local knowledge and global reach they demand. Our U.S. team is committed to providing sellers with a dynamic global marketplace of buyers in which to find the best possible value for their company. Our bankers have collectively closed over 500 transactions (5 since March) and know success can only be achieved when the deal process is not allowed to languish. That’s why our entire global team is focused on selling your company in 200 days from the time of engagement.”

Visit Woodbridge International’s Profile

Industries: Manufacturing, Financial Services, Consumer Goods, Industrials, Materials, Technology, Energy & Utilities, Retail, Business Services, Distribution, Health Care, Consumer Services, Media, Real Estate, Life Sciences, Telecommunications



“FINNEA Group is a premier financial services provider offering tailored solutions in investment banking, financial planning & analysis, and restructuring & turnaround advisory. Built on strong principles, FINNEA is focused on serving middle market companies and provides each client with unique and customized solutions. FINNEA offers extensive strategic and financial advice on mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, private capital financing and strategic initiatives to corporate and institutional clients. FINNEA is managed by four seasoned partners and other high caliber professionals with significant financial and industry experience. FINNEA’s professionals have executed over 750 transactions in the middle market segment. Their broad experience includes industrial manufacturing, food & beverage, automotive, business & environmental services and branded products.”

Visit FINNEA Group’s Profile

Industries: Consumer Goods, Industrials, Business Services, Manufacturing, Distribution, Consumer Services, Materials, Health Care



“Trafalgar Capital Partners LLC, is an independent investment bank that provides mergers & acquisitions, private equity capital sourcing and financial advisory services to small to mid-size companies. Our firm is comprised of senior investment banking professionals who gained their world-class investment banking experience at such firms as Morgan Stanley and Citigroup. The firm’s professionals have a proven track record of success, closing 100+ transactions with aggregate value exceeding $2 billion. TCP is US-based but conducts business throughout Asia, Central and South America and Europe, and provides direct client access to strategic partners and capital sourcing in each of those geographical areas.”

Visit Trafalgar Capital’s Profile

Industries: Industrials, Manufacturing, Business Services, Distribution, Technology, Media, Materials



We specialize in advisory services for preparing companies for sale, finding buyers or sellers, due diligence & documentation, closing transactions, and transitioning ownership for private businesses, family businesses, and closely-held corporations. We are industry agnostic and predominantly represent clients within the continental United States, though we have experience internationally.

Visit Aegis Acquisitions’ Profile

Industries: Consumer, Health Care, Industrials



“We have served as a trusted partner to businesses in the HVAC, Plumbing and Mechanical contractors, providing a range of services including valuation, accounting, research and financial analysis. Our goal is to serve not simply as a business brokerage, but as a success strategy firm, driving superior outcomes for our clients. We achieve this in particular by leveraging the strong relationships we have forged over in our niche industry focus. We’re equally comfortable representing sellers and buyers – our only objective is to help you accomplish your goals efficiently and professionally. And since our fees are based on the work we do for you – not on some large overhead or personnel department that we have to support – you’ll find a relationship with us particularly rewarding, indeed.”

Visit SF&P Advisors’ Profile

Industries: HVAC, Industrials, Consumer Services



“Sunfield Advisors has a worldwide network of investors and investment groups seeking to invest in profitable and viable opportunities, often in a specific market or country for independent project deals. Our global Professionals who came from Diverse industry experiences proactively work to bring our clients the most valuable projects, providing holistic financial services and credit enhancement support to discerning clients.”

Visit Sunfield Advisors’ Profile

Industries: Healthcare, Technology, Energy & Utilities, Business Services



“EdgePoint is a leading Merger & Acquisition advisory firm, specializing in middle market mergers, acquisitions, management buyouts, and corporate divestitures for businesses and owners. EdgePoint is a registered broker dealer and a member of FINRA. The professionals at EdgePoint have an extensive track record of helping business owners evaluate, improve, and sell their businesses. We feel that we are not just selling a company…we are selling your business. We provide clients a unique combination of large corporate finance expertise and deep middle-market knowledge, gained through years of experience as entrepreneurs and seasoned advisors to midsize businesses. Our mission is to achieve our client’s desired company valuation and objectives while adhering to the principles of honesty, integrity and confidentiality in all client matters. We take a relationship based approach to a transactional business.”

Visit EdgePoint’s Profile

Industries: Industrials, Business Services, Distribution, Health Care



Salt Creek Partners (“SCP”) is a boutique M&A advisory firm operating in the Southwest, Southeast, New England and Gulf Coast regions. SCP serves business leaders in the emerging growth and middle markets We specifically focus on clients looking to be acquired and companies wanting to make an acquisition We provide strategic consulting to re position and optimize companies wanting to sell in order to ultimately increase its valuation.

Visit Salt Creek Partners’ Profile

Industries: Consumer Goods, Industrials, Technology, Business Services, Consumer Services



“Sun Mergers & Acquisitions is a full-service professional business intermediary firm specializing in all aspects of the confidential sale, merger, acquisition and valuation of privately held mid-market companies with a primary focus in handling the sale of entrepreneurial and family held companies. Sun M&A brings extensive, broad based expertise, yielding the greatest probability of a successful sale with a maximum net after-tax yield.”

Visit Sun M&A’s Profile

Industries: Industrials, Manufacturing, Transportation



“Good Hope Advisors works with buy-side and sell-side clients in the HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning), Plumbing, Mechanical, Refrigeration and Electrical contractor world. They provide a suite of services including but not limited to mergers, acquisitions, valuations, sales, prospecting, consulting and management throughout the entire lifecycle of the transaction process. This enables GHA to create synergistic partnerships, recapitalizations, mergers, acquisitions and equitable exit strategies for clients throughout the residential and commercial contracting marketplace.”

Visit Good Hope Advisors’ Profile

Industries: Manufacturing, HVAC, Industrials



“With more than three decades of experience, FOCUS Investment Banking is a trusted name in middle market M&A advisory services worldwide. FOCUS works to understand each client’s strategic and financial objectives, craft the best plan to achieve these goals and deliver success. FOCUS is a partner driven firm and all 25+ bankers are seasoned C-level operating executives and most have participated in transactions as a principal. Our cadre of over 30 senior advisors are available to advise and assist bankers when deep industry domain knowledge is appropriate.”

Visit FOCUS Investment Banking’s Profile

Industries: Advanced Manufacturing, Automotive, Energy, Government, Aerospace & Defense, Health Care, Technology, Telecommunications



“The firm Trudeau & Trudeau Associates, Inc. (T&T) is a M&A advisory firm that provides merger and acquisition and strategic consulting services to client companies and private equity groups. Since their founding in 1982 by the Trudeau brothers, the firm’s philosophy has been to bring an organized and systematic approach to merger and acquisition transactions for their clients. After 28 years, the Trudeau brothers are still active partners providing their clients and colleagues with the experience of having successfully completed hundreds of transactions. Since inception, out-of-the-box thinking has been the cornerstone of the firm, with creative programs such as DEALMAKER™ . T&T has never been willing to follow the “typical” M&A thinking of the time. Most M&A firms today still subscribe to the typical auction “book-bid” process, whether their clients are buying or selling. Conversely, T&T’s buy side and sell side clients receive a program that utilizes an innovative highly targeted selection process which eliminates the damage and chaos caused by the conventional auction process.”

Visit Trudeau & Trudeau Associates’ Profile

Industries :Industrials, Manufacturing, Health Care



“Axis Global Advisory is a merchant banking and advisory firm that helps investors connect with great investments. Axis represents select special situations and private investment opportunities to some of the largest and most sophisticated global investors who are looking for investment ideas that will deliver high returns. The firm focuses on mandates from $20mm to $500mm in size where it can model 20% + annual returns.”

Visit Axis Global Advisory’s Profile

Industries: Food & Beverage, Industrials, Pharmaceuticals, Business Services



“Liberty Ridge is the most difficult and treacherous trek on the Pacific Northwest’s iconic Mt. Rainier. As founders, with deep roots in the Pacific Northwest, we consider Liberty Ridge the perfect metaphor to represent the challenging yet rewarding endeavors that a merger or acquisition can be for business owners.”

Visit Liberty Ridge Advisors’ Profile

Industries: Business Services, Consumer Products & Services, Energy, Industrials, Manufacturing, Distribution, Financial Services, Healthcare, Industrials, Technology


League Table Methodology


Unlike traditional league table structures that have remained the same for years, with firms being assessed against deal volume and deal dollar volume, Axial league tables surface data on investment banks that reveal their selectivity, the relative attractiveness of their client’s businesses, and their overall sell-side process efficacy.

The investment banks at the top of the Axial League Table are leaders across the following three categories:

  • Client Quality: Buy-side demand for engagements represented by the advisor
  • Buy-Side Targeting: The advisor’s ability to balance selectivity, accuracy, and breadth when identifying potential buyers
  • Process Effectiveness: The advisor’s ability to generate positive outcomes for their client Axial League Table data incorporates and includes:
  • Overall Deal Relevance: How many buy-side mandates (financial and strategic) align with the advisor’s engagements.
  • Process Selectivity: How broad or narrow are the advisors’ sell-side processes relative to their peers?
  • Signed NDAs: How many buyers indicate interest in each of the advisor’s engagements, measured by the number of signed NDAs.
  • Buyer Referrals: Feedback we receive from buyers regarding the manner in which the advisor manages their processes.
  • Closed Deals: How many deals has the advisor closed where they involved one or more Axial buyers in the process?


Together, the top 20 investment banks are those who work with the most in-demand clients; balance breadth, selectivity, and accuracy in the buyers they engage; and generate the largest number of positive outcomes for their clients.


About Axial

Axial is the trusted deal platform serving the lower middle market ($5-$250M TEV).

Over 3,500 advisory firms and 2,000 corporate and financial buyers have joined Axial to efficiently connect with relevant capital partners, source actionable deals, and build new relationships.

Visit the Member Closed Deals page to see selected transactions that have been sourced and closed via Axial.

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