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Anyone know about dealflow/reputation/etc. for the middle-market I-bank Harris Williams?

Comments (30)

  • CompBanker's picture

    HW is an excellent choice if you want to work in the middle market. It won't get you into KKR, but as waltersobchek said, you have an open invite to most PE shops.

    CompBanker

  • numi's picture

    like others have mentioned, they're very well-respected in the middle market. they run very good processes and they're able to get some pretty rich valuations on their deals as a result. i know PE firms (mine included) talk about how tough it is to win a HW deal simply because the multiples are too rich, but i guess from an analyst's perspective, this is the type of work you want to be doing if you're looking to get into the middle market.

  • waltersobchek's picture

    something to keep in mind at the analyst level - it seems like they do primarily sellside M&A. while this is definitley helpful in the transition to PE, it doesn't sound like they do much or any buyside m&a at all. i'm still in school, but had offers from HW, and chose another bank primarily for this reason, as I felt that I could get more exposure to different products and whatnot.

    Don't know much about the SF office, but the MDs/Directors in Richmond are actually really cool.

  • CompBanker's picture

    ideating and Alphaholic ... Mark Klein's statement is actually pretty accurate. I know a lot of analysts at Harris Williams and they are almost never pitching.

    CompBanker

  • Indeed's picture

    I know a few current and former HW guys, both personally and professionally, and it's a very good shop. Most of the guys I know still there are Assoc / VP now (know one Director), and I can tell you that pitch stat is darn near accurate, at least in true bake-off scenarios--I was actually discussing that very topic with one of them at an industry event just a few months ago. All the former HW folks I know are now either in PE or bschool, and at some very good places, too. There was that faction that split off from Cobblestone to do their own thing, but that's a totally different ballgame. Oh, and I don't recall if the retention bonuses from PNC have all paid out--pretty sure they have--but I know the attrition hasn't been nearly as bad as it could've been. Firm didn't really flinch, and is still full steam ahead, from what I've seen and heard.

    With respect to the hours, their Analysts generally don't have it much if any easier than the kids up on the Street, believe me. Associates, maybe a bit better, though it's still pretty intense. VPs travel a little more than I'd like to, at least in RIC, given that few clients are truly local (though there certainly have been some). And no, you won't spend as much time pitching as you would at a lot of other places, but that sure as hell doesn't mean you won't work as hard.

    On the pay side, San Fran gets the biggest premium for cost of living, Boston I believe gets a small premium, and Richmond at bottom. Think their first years get $50 - 60k salary or so, bonuses about Streetish or more in some cases. Their more senior associates and VPs on up do very well.

    Anyway, long story short, it's a good place, with very smart people (that comment about BB scraps is completely ridiculous), and you would do well to be an Analyst or Associate there. Exit opps are very good, and you'll certainly learn how to run a rigorous sell-side process. In fact, in line with what numi said, rigorous is an understatement--we joke that HW just flies over a city and drops books out the window. That carpet bombing approach generally leads to rich multiples, however.

    And no people, I don't work there, just know a few of the current and former bankers, and have a healthy respect for the firm (they're technically a competitor of ours, in fact, but we don't bump up against them that often).

    Hope that sheds a little light for you (HW people please speak up if I misrepresented anything). Remember, though, I'm just one data point. Do your own research and good luck!

    And as for the whole is-doing-mostly-sell-side-work-a-bad-thing remark, that's a topic for another discussion, but I don't really think so. Very difficult not to get pigeonholed one way or another (either product or industry) in this business, especially from the get-go.

    Once more into the breach, dear friends.

  • CompBanker's picture

    Gorilla, if you take a look at their recent press releases, most of the deals are being led out of the Richmond office. Not too surprising given that is the headquarters. My buddies in their Boston office are kept busy though, so it may just be a size thing.

    CompBanker

  • Indeed's picture

    Pretty sure all their offices are busy right now, but that's just a guess. The guys I know are all out of Richmond, and I know that office does well. Both the Boston and San Fran offices have been around a while--through ups and downs--so I feel like if they were incapable of generating adequate deal flow they wouldn't be around anymore.

    And yeah, thus far the PNC relationship is arms length, from what I've seen and heard. I really don't know how much origination they've got out of it and vice versa. HW has their own HR, at least as far as their recruiting goes, so don't bother contacting PNC directly if you're looking for a job at HW.

    Once more into the breach, dear friends.