Several investment bankers have left their positions to start advisory firms, allowing them to serve a particular niche as a boutique investment bank or to eliminate conflicts of interest with a larger institution. That shift to will likely continue as clients look for more specialized services. "I think it is part of a broader trend towards a boutique movement in M&A," says Jason Munoz, who recently started investment bank Slate Partners LLC.

Denver-based Slate was started by Munoz and his colleague Aaron Bachik to provide advisory services to the building materials and building services markets. Munoz and Bachik left investment bank Green Manning & Bunch Ltd. in March for the new venture. Slate will serve manufacturers, distributors and producers of natural and manufactured building materials nationwide, as well as architects, engineers and construction services providers.

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