With M&A down some 10 percent in value and five percent in volume in 2012 from the previous year, Harris Williams & Co.'s 60 percent growth in deal value and 50 percent in volume marks quite an impressive feat. The middle-market boutique investment bank completed more than 75 transactions, valued at around $13.7 billion. To put the bank's growth in perspective, consider that competitor William Blair & Co. achieved similar numbers in 2012, but its growth from the previous year, while certainly noteworthy at 31 percent in value and 15 percent in volume, was not as dramatic.

"It was a record year for us by a long shot," says co-founder Hiter Harris.

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