Former Morgan Keegan investment banker James Hansen has joined New York-based middle market I-bank Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc. as managing director, head of energy investment banking. Hansen will be based in Houston and oversee strategic growth of the company’s investment banking practice serving the energy and utility sectors, including MLPs, E&Ps and royalty trusts.

“Ladenburg has an excellent platform already established. I’m excited about being on board to expand that presence and to increase the coverage and sponsorship,” Hansen told Oil and Gas Investor.

Hansen said his role with Ladenburg Thalmann, an arm of Miami-based Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (NYSE Amex: LTS), will be complementary to the existing energy coverage and sponsorship by co-president and chief executive Peter H. Blum, particularly in the areas of upstream and downstream MLPs, a deeper calling effort of covered E&Ps, as well as royalty trusts.

“The energy space is so capital intensive. One of the newest financial products that has evolved is royalty trusts, which are becoming much more popular. It’s a natural fit to be active in the upstream and downstream MLP space and royalty trust space,” he said.

Hansen joins Ladenburg from Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc., where he served as managing director, co-head of energy investment banking, and was responsible for initiating and coordinating investment banking assignments for more than 30 clients and raised proceeds of over $10 billion.

Prior to joining Morgan Keegan, Hansen served as head of energy investment banking at Broadpoint Capital Inc., as a managing director at Banc of America Securities LLC’s Energy & Power Investment Banking Group, and as managing director at Howard, Weil, Labouisse, Friedrichs & Co.

“Jim brings a wealth of experience and relationships in the dynamic energy space to Ladenburg,” said Blum. “We see a substantial opportunity to further build on our work with MLPs, public and private independents, pipelines, power utilities and water companies. I’m confident that the Ladenburg team will benefit from Jim’s leadership and sector expertise.”

Water companies and electric utilities will be an added coverage area for Hansen, “but one that is highly capital intensive and one where Ladenburg can be instrumental in providing additional support and sponsorship.”

“Jim’s 30-year career in energy-related financing, commercial lending and corporate workouts will be an invaluable asset as we continue to grow our energy practice,” David Rosenberg, co-president and chief executive, added.

Hansen said his investment emphasis will continue to be focused on the E&P front domestically, and on companies that are primarily oil and liquids based. “We’re looking for good management teams primarily that are able to provide value creation in whatever sector they are in.”

Hansen can be reached at 212-409-2000.