Fifth Third Securities hired Larry Williams, Bruce Woodward, Alan McClure and Bill Benston, founders of The Breckenridge Group, an Atlanta-based investment banking firm that specialized in providing strategic merger and acquisition services to privately-owned and publicly held middle-market companies.

Expanding M&A advisory and investment banking capabilities represents a significant opportunity for Fifth Third Capital Markets to support clients.

“Fifth Third is committed to executing our strategy to deliver differentiated capital markets capabilities and resources to our middle-market and mid-corporate clients and prospects,” said Lars Anderson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Fifth Third Bancorp. “By growing our M&A advisory capabilities, we’re putting the bank in a position to offer a wide range of solutions that help clients reach their strategic objectives.”

The addition of these professionals expands Fifth Third’s Investment Banking and M&A group to more than 30 professionals. They will enhance the bank’s presence and commitment to the fast-growing Southeastern region by joining Fifth Third’s Atlanta office, reporting to Rob Schipper, head of Investment Banking.

Williams has nearly 40 years of investment banking experience, advising sell-side and buy-side M&A transactions. Williams has served a range of industries, including printing and packaging, healthcare services, manufacturing, specialty chemicals and franchising.

Woodward has nearly 40 years of experience in advising management teams and shareholders of middle-market businesses. Woodward has advised several industries, including transportation, manufacturing, financial services, retailing and distribution.

McClure brings more than 30 years of experience in advising management teams and shareholders of middle-market firms on the sale of their businesses. McClure has experience across several industries, including telecommunications, manufacturing, business services and distribution.

Benston brings more than 23 years of investment banking experience, providing advice on buy- and sell-side M&A transactions for companies in the business services sector. Benston has experience advising manufacturing, distribution, packaging, franchising and technology, media and telecommunications industries.

Also joining Fifth Third Securities to support the M&A advisory and investment banking clients are Elizabeth Head, Mark Basford and Jaime Shepard.