By Sonali Basak

PJ SOLOMON, the investment bank founded by Wall Street veteran Peter J. Solomon, is looking to add talent in the U.S. as it expands with the backing of French giant Natixis SA.

“We’ve doubled in the two and a half years since the acquisition, up to 80 bankers,” PJ Solomon Chief Executive Officer Marc Cooper said Tuesday in a Bloomberg Television interview. “I would expect in the next three to five years we’ll double still.”

His firm has added talent for restructuring as well as industries including energy and consumer.

Natixis and PJ Solomon are expanding in markets beyond the retail industry, where the New York-based investment bank has traditionally operated. The French firm agreed in 2016 to buy a 51 percent interest in the company founded by Solomon, a former vice chairman of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., and Cooper took the CEO role at that time. He said he’s looking to double the number of partners at the firm from the current 22.

Rival boutique banks such as Houlihan Lokey Inc. have been expanding around the world. Natixis has invested in three other firms this year — Fenchurch Advisory Partners in the U.K., China’s Vermilion Partners and Paris-based Clipperton.

Cooper said increased competition has driven up the cost of hiring investment bankers. Still, he adds, the tie-up with Natixis gives his team a “suite of services no boutique has.”