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Image of Brittany McIntosh featured as a woman of NM

July 12, 2022

Introducing Women of NM: Transactions

Featuring: Brittany McIntosh

Greenville partner Brittany McIntosh serves as primary outside counsel to public and private companies with respect to their mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, SEC reporting requirements, stock exchange listing compliance, and corporate governance and general corporate matters. Brittany also represents issuers, underwriters, and placement agents in connection with a variety of securities matters, including initial public offerings, primary and secondary offerings, private placements, and senior and subordinated debt financings.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration was my late father, a high school football coach for 20+ years. He gave his players and his four children pep talks to encourage hard work and perseverance, even when facing challenges. One high school pep talk has stayed with me — The Three Ps to Success: Preparation, Practice, and Performance. These are not novel ideas, but they have guided my approach to every task and goal. This motto can be used for a one-time task, a step program, or in the long game. The Preparation step is most important! It gets my mind focused and lessens any project anxiety.

From a career perspective, I am inspired by those just starting out in their law practice. I want to show young lawyers how to do the foundational basics of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), whether small-scale or stratospheric, easy or complex. My parents were, and my husband is, a teacher. I want to be an inspiration to a younger generation — like my parents and husband. Because I chose practicing law rather than teaching, I find that I can inspire others through mentoring, setting an example, and giving adequate feedback to help each young lawyer grow.

What’s one piece of advice that greatly impacted you and your career trajectory?

A friend told me that an investment in yourself is the best investment. Law school is expensive. I was a non-traditional law student, having worked in the financial industry for almost five years before attending law school. Taking a personal leap to attend law school was exciting but laced with anxiety. Throughout long nights and difficult challenges, I always reminded myself that I am investing in Me and My future, which in turn made me feel more in control of outcomes as well as more able to face new challenges.

What are some of the traits that you admire the most amongst your peers?

My close team members and peers are wonderfully supportive, diversity champions, and sponsors. However, I gravitate towards admiring traits in others that I struggle with. The first is numerous of my colleagues are “Energizer bunnies”! When they are not working, they are working out, writing articles or books, and developing professionally through reading career-development books. When I am not working, I do some of the same things but not as whole-heartedly. The second trait I admire is the ability of certain colleagues to retain information: remembering intricate details of what happened in a transaction 20 years ago or remembering where they read that one important provision a year ago that can create a better outcome now.

What are the biggest foreseeable challenges in your field?

A majority of my M&A transactions are primarily mergers between community-banking-financial institutions, typically publicly traded bank holding companies.

From a legal practice perspective, diversifying my practice areas is a foreseeable challenge. Because of decades of consolidation amongst the banking sector, a substantial decrease in the number of community banks has occurred; therefore, opportunities for my specialty will eventually become limited.

From an industry perspective, one challenge facing financial institutions is the expansion of federal and state regulatory compliance rules and procedures. Sometimes, these laws seem cloudy in wording or even conflicting. Helping clients understand new rules and how these laws may affect their organization, add to their compliance costs, or cause a potential strain on resources will be a continuing challenge. Additionally, local or community banks face substantial competition from a variety of different competitors: national, regional, other communities, and internet banks; other types of financial institutions, such as savings, loans, and credit unions; private and global finance companies; brokerage firms; insurance companies; and other financial intermediaries. As customer preferences and expectations continue to evolve, technology has lowered barriers to entry and made it possible for banks to offer products and services in more areas in which they do not have a physical location. Nonbanks, such as FinTech companies, offer products and services traditionally provided by banks, such as automatic transfer and automatic payment systems. The challenge to lawyers is to stay on top of ever-changing laws, revisions, changes, new services, and trends that can impact future M&A.

What are key trends that you are noticing in the industry?

There are two key trends of concern within the financial institutions and M&A industry at the moment:

  1. The more stringent posture from the federal bank regulators with regards to approving bank mergers, which are taking months longer than past practice, are already sending up red flags and more questions for bank M&A lawyers. In fact, numerous bank mergers have publicly announced the termination of a merger agreement because of the inability to obtain regulatory approval in a timely manner; and
  2. M&A lawyers will need to address proactively the significant market volatility in M&A agreements, especially where the merger consideration is stock or a mix of cash and stock. For public bank mergers, we likely will begin seeing an uptick in common price-protection mechanisms and the use of a few uncommon price-protection mechanisms.  

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