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Greenhill CEO sees Trump administration helping the M&A business

Greenhill & Co. Inc. CEO Scott Bok expects the Trump administration to have a positive impact on the M&A advisory business.

Bok said during a Jan. 26 earnings conference call that Greenhill believes the regulatory and tax reforms suggested by President Donald Trump should add momentum to transaction activity in the U.S. and perhaps other parts of the world if they help accelerate economic growth. He added that the administration's favorable stance toward business has increased executives' confidence levels.

"I think they're feeling in the mood to sort of do things that will strategically expand their business," he said.

Others have expressed concern about M&A and wondered if the administration's new policies will create marketplace uncertainty that forces companies to pause before announcing deals. Bok downplayed that possibility.

"I don't get the sense people are sort of waiting around to see what's going to happen," he said.

An analyst asked Bok if Trump's protectionist stance could lead to fewer cross-border deals. Bok had noted that more than 40% of Greenhill's 2016 revenue came from advising on cross-border deals. But he said he is not worried about a slowdown in those deals now that Trump is president.

He said it is possible some intervention could occur in certain cross-border transactions, but he doubts that is a top concern of companies. Bok added that many companies believe the positives from the new policies will outweigh the negatives.

"I think the perception of the clients we talk to is that we have a very pro-business regime in Washington now with a lot of senior appointees who business people are quite familiar with and in many cases like quite a lot," Bok said.