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CEO: Houlihan Lokey continues to build 'bench strength'

Houlihan Lokey Inc. CEO Scott Beiser said his company was able to increase the talent level among its investment bankers even if headcount did not grow substantially.

Speaking May 9 during an earnings conference call, Beiser noted that the company promoted nine employees to managing director and hired an additional 20 managing directors during fiscal 2018. However, the company reported a year-over-year increase of just four managing directors to 169 as of March 31.

During the call, an analyst noted that the net increase in managing director headcount suggested that the attrition rate was elevated. Beiser agreed and said the vast majority of the departures was not surprising.

He said retirements of employees who had been with the company for many years was a reason for some of the exits. The CEO said other departures were also expected because the company has been hiring and adding employees through acquisitions.

"A certain percentage of those people are not going to work out in the new platform," he said.

However, Beiser said Houlihan Lokey has been able to add strength in certain areas, with capital markets being one part of the business that the company has grown. He noted that fiscal 2018 fee revenue, which rose year over year to $963.4 million, is an indication of the company's ability to add talent.

"We'll have certain departures, but the bench strength continues to grow," the CEO said.