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What are people's thoughts on the group?

Comments (38)

  • WestCoastChimp30's picture

    If you're on the corp fin side it's more like middle market lending in the sense that it's highly geographical and you're probably trying to pitch anything from universities all the way to local unions. On the IB side, it's a bit more sophisticated and market-driven.

    IB side is growing (WF is not yet known as a GIB/Public Finance shop) and they're busy on the East Coast. Not a bad shop but limited upside. Specific questions, PM me.

  • Jlb3's picture

    Ok, so the last guy does not really know what he is talking about. Wells is one of the fastest growing firms in munis. They are decent in the league tables but they make a lot of money in derivatives and other balance sheet oriented products. They have recently hired some top bankers including two group heads from Morgan Stanley (higher ed and public power). I also hear they pay as well as all BB firms.

    FYI, when that guy says Corp fin, I think he means commercial banking. I don't think anyone calls it that. The Public Finance group is nothing like middle markets lending.

  • In reply to Jlb3
    WestCoastChimp30's picture

    Jlb3 wrote:
    Ok, so the last guy does not really know what he is talking about. Wells is one of the fastest growing firms in munis. They are decent in the league tables but they make a lot of money in derivatives and other balance sheet oriented products. They have recently hired some top bankers including two group heads from Morgan Stanley (higher ed and public power). I also hear they pay as well as all BB firms.

    FYI, when that guy says Corp fin, I think he means commercial banking. I don't think anyone calls it that. The Public Finance group is nothing like middle markets lending.

    I'm pretty sure I used the terms "growing" and "not a bad shop." Just trying to help out the OP, no need to get defensive.

    By the way, according to my contacts at WF, Pub Fin reports up to the middle-market lending group. So yes, the PubFin team (even though they may think of themselves as exclusive) is joined at the hip with the commercial bank. This is not a knock to the middle-market bankers as they've been keeping the lights on at WF, JPM, BofA, and Citi for years now.

  • Jlb3's picture

    Public Finance is an investment banking group (Wells Fargo Securities), "middle markets lending" (I think you mean government banking) is a commercial banking group (Wells Fargo Bank). Dispite the two groups being encuraged by common upper management to work together, the compensation, job requirements etc are completely different. One group lends bank capital and the other structures and underwrites public capital markets bond deals. Analysts and Associates in the Public Finance group are paid in line with other investment banking groups. Commercial banking junior staff is paid in line with other commercial banking groups.

    Futurectdoc, I hope this helps. If there is any specific question you have, ask away.

    Like westcoast and I both said, the group is growing while most other large firms are cutting people (common theme at Wells). That being said, the municipal bond industry has become highly competitive and many firms are finding it harder than ever to generate significant revenue with lower bond underwriting fees and a reduced use of derivatives.

    In terms of rankings, BofA JPM and Citi have recently been at the top of the municipal bond league tables. After that, MS, RBC, Barc, GS and now Wells compete for position in the remaining spots in the top 8.

  • In reply to Jlb3
    guyfromct's picture

    Jlb3 wrote:
    Public Finance is an investment banking group (Wells Fargo Securities), "middle markets lending" (I think you mean government banking) is a commercial banking group (Wells Fargo Bank). Dispite the two groups being encuraged by common upper management to work together, the compensation, job requirements etc are completely different. One group lends bank capital and the other structures and underwrites public capital markets bond deals. Analysts and Associates in the Public Finance group are paid in line with other investment banking groups. Commercial banking junior staff is paid in line with other commercial banking groups.

    Futurectdoc, I hope this helps. If there is any specific question you have, ask away.

    Like westcoast and I both said, the group is growing while most other large firms are cutting people (common theme at Wells). That being said, the municipal bond industry has become highly competitive and many firms are finding it harder than ever to generate significant revenue with lower bond underwriting fees and a reduced use of derivatives.

    In terms of rankings, BofA JPM and Citi have recently been at the top of the municipal bond league tables. After that, MS, RBC, Barc, GS and now Wells compete for position in the remaining spots in the top 8.

    The contact is within the securities side of things. He did Pub fin at three other BBs, his area is muni housing. Provided he can get me something, what do I need to know in terms of pub fin? I'm reading fabiozzi and read the SIFMA guide.

  • MFFL's picture

    I don't think public finance is a bad career, but you should understand it is nothing like corporate investment banking. Even though it underwrites public securities similarly to corporate investment banking, public finance requires very little modeling skills. Much of the modeling is done automatically by computer programs. It is hard for any of the firms to differentiate themselves; the final product is going to look much the same regardless of which of the top 15 firms actually do the deal.

    It is not a bad career path to go on, it follows the IBD hierarchy of Analyst - Associate - VP - MD, so there is a very clear career progression and the pay is still very good (think about the pay in terms of ER rather than IBD). The biggest issue is that many of the skills you learn are not going to be transferrable to other jobs, as you're not becoming an industry expert, not gaining any real modeling skills, and having intimate knowledge of the way municipal bonds are structured isn't a real benefit anywhere other than public finance, muni trading, or maybe even muni research on the investment management side.

    Hope this helps

    "Well that's even more than less than unhelpful." - Jack Sparrow

  • Jlb3's picture

    futurectdoc wrote:
    The contact is within the securities side of things. He did Pub fin at three other BBs, his area is muni housing. Provided he can get me something, what do I need to know in terms of pub fin? I'm reading fabiozzi and read the SIFMA guide.

    Yea, other than being asked some bond math / present value questions the interview will probably be mostly fit. Know general trends in the muni maket (look on the bond buyer website) and know about the recent changes in federal tax rates due to the fiscal cliff negotiations. These impact the value of muni bonds. Also, know that recent proposed change in regulations (banking and investment banking) create some uncertainty that effects muni bond clients.

    In terms of modeling, if you work in a BB public finace group, you will absolutely use various types of credit and pro forma cash flow projection models. These models might not be that transferable to coporate IB models because the financial statements of muni issuers look different than corporations and corporations have different options in terms of raising capital (most importantly muni issuers do not have equity in their capital stack). For the actual am schedule structuring you will probably use a non-excel program. But I agree, you will spend a lot of time learning nontransferable skills, a lot of which will revolve around tax law.

  • In reply to MFFL
    ChiTown82's picture

    MFFL wrote:
    Even though it underwrites public securities similarly to corporate investment banking, public finance requires very little modeling skills. Much of the modeling is done automatically by computer programs. It is hard for any of the firms to differentiate themselves; the final product is going to look much the same regardless of which of the top 15 firms actually do the deal.

    Maybe some day people who have no idea WTF they're talking about will just stop contributing... maybe some day... Just because we don't do LBO/M&A models doesn't mean we have "very little modeling skills." I spend my days analyzing excel based debt models, building out financial/debt profiles, modifying proprietary models that calculate maturity-by-maturity refunding opportunities, building full-scale primary/secondary trading analyses, writing algorithms/macros/VBA-based functions etc that interface with Bloomberg and then, on top of that, we have to be experts in the modeling software (which isn't done "automatically" - garbage in, garbage out if you don't know what you're doing). Additionally, public finance isn't just "general" municipals; there are specific industry groups such as public power, healthcare, securitization, infrastructure/PPP, etc. that make you an "industry expert", not to mention the many corporations that also issue tax-exempt (investor-owned utilities, energy, waste, airlines, etc.). Is public finance the "sexy" side of finance, hell no. Is it still a quantitatively-heavy line of work, absolutely - if you are in a sophisticated group. It's a much more in-depth version of DCM, and in my instance, with a side of project/corporate finance thrown in. It's actually very easy to differentiate yourself as well - via ideas, in-depth analysis that some firms don't take the time with, distribution, building a network and being aggressive in your pitching... just like corporate finance.

  • Htc_1's picture

    I had a super day with them a year ago in Charlotte but turned down their final offer. Really great group of people though. Five or six interviews back to back, almost 99.9% fit. Only technical questions were - "if I were an investor, what would I look at when investing in a government bond" and "what affects interest rates."

    Hours out of this office are pretty relaxed, 40-50 hr workweeks. Don't know too much about pay though, sorry. Housed in a weird spot in WFS as there is an explicit directive at Wells to work with the commercial side.

  • Nikao's picture

    I used to work a lot with the group in SF and they were top shelf.

    Chitown82 is absolutely correct. Some of the rev bonds can be pretty complex and even GOs can be complicated. It is not sexy, but it is still IB despite what some of the elitist- probably soph/junior posters or accountants- WSO contributors would have you think.

    Quid Spucatum Tauri Est? Illegitimi Non Carborundum.

  • In reply to ctrading
    Cruncharoo's picture

    ctrading wrote:

    how's Wells SF group? in public finance. since most of the activities happens in east coast, is SF group a second priority?

    I'm not too familiar with the Wells SF group but public finance is silo'd in that if you are working in SF you won't need to interface with other groups too much. Each State has its own laws that regulate how muni securities are issued so each group needs to 'specialize' for their area. California (and munis in it) issue a TON of debt so there is a good opportunity there for volume/size of deals.

    edit: As others have said WF is growing and has a huge BS to throw behind its deals and does so to gain market share. Definitely not a bad pub fin shop at all, but not the top.

    This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..

  • In reply to ctrading
    kinginthenorth's picture

    I worked with a few bankers in the SF office and know quite a few of the interns/analysts. Great group of people, really nice and personable. I'm not sure where the idea that most of the "activity" happens on east coast comes from. Wells is headquartered in SF so there's a breadth of activity. Couple that with the fact that municipalities everywhere need to issue debt, in addition to California being a massive state with a huge muni market, and there won't be a lack of activity.

    The way WF sets it up for their GIB group is that the US is broken up into geographical regions (i.e. West, South, East, etc.) and there are about 5 or 6 regions. SF falls under the West branch, as does all of California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and a few other states that I can't think of off the top of my head. The group head of the west region sits in the LA office.

    I'm not sure if the head of the entire GIB group is moving to SF, but I'm reasonably sure he's in NYC currently. But the COO as well as a number of top officials are either in the SF office or currently transitioning to the office.

    I'm terms of league tables, JPM and BAML are at the top with Citi below them. I think Wells was actually
    number 4 through the first two quarters of 2013 but I imagine that's changed. Overall still a good place to be. Feel free to post here or PM me if you have any other questions

    "You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are." - Mister Rogers

  • In reply to kinginthenorth
    ctrading's picture

    This is great to know! When I wrote "most of the activities happens in east coast" I meant that prior to the merger with Wachovia, Wells was not a significant player in the pub fin space. After the merger, it quickly gained ground but since Wachovia was never active in west coast...Wells is trying to expand the footprint in pub fin business. National rankings are great, but not so much for west region.

    Yes, you're right the headquartered is in SF and the head of west coast sits in LA office.

    How's mobility viewed in Wells (specifically in pub fin group)? are they encouraging/supportive?

  • timtam's picture

    Sorry for bumping this old thread, but I'm trying to understand the difference between Public Finance vs Government Banking (Government and Institutional Banking - GIB)? I mean I know GIB is part of commercial banking and pub fin is part of investment banking.

    I was just wondering the type of work each group does. Can anyone shed some light?

  • Cruncharoo's picture

    I don't know much about GIB but here is what I think the difference is:

    GIB -- Does more credit related stuff -- offers LoCs, loans, private placements, etc. I think this will also be the side of the house where govt's keep their funds, think your checking/savings account but for a City or County for their various funds.

    Public Finance - Underwrites local government debt, X County wants to build a baseball stadium and wants to issue $500 million in bonds to do so, pub fin will serve as underwriter and sell the bonds to investors.

    There can be some crossover where maybe JPM (or whoever) can do part of the deal as variable rate public bonds (pub fin) but also extend the issuer a letter of credit (GIB) and heck -- they can even keep the construction fund in a JP Morgan account if they wanted (I believe this would be GIB as well)

    Someone correct me if I am wrong though, please!

    This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..

  • Cruncharoo's picture

    Gonna add this mention for @"timtam" so he sees the reply

    This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..

  • In reply to timtam
    Cruncharoo's picture

    Yep, so the credit manager is the guy who will draft up their LoC or loan docs and the relationship manager I'm guessing would handle their everyday account maintenance and offer them the latest solutions. I wouldn't expect to know a whole lot about it -- most people in pub fin (or GIB I'd guess) know how niche it is and are not offended when people don't know.

    This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..

  • In reply to timtam
    Cruncharoo's picture

    Nope, work in pub fin though but don't have a GIB arm, but have interacted with some other firms' groups. I think that sounds right generally.

    This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..

  • In reply to timtam
    Cruncharoo's picture

    I have no idea for GIB. IBD side would be same base as everyone else prob ~$125 and bonus prob 50-60% of what is quoted around here for associates.

    This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..

  • timtam's picture

    @"pubfinanalyst" & @"Cruncharoo",

    Sorry for reviving an old thread, but I've been offered a spot as a summer associate at WF GIB (commercial banking) not their pub fin IB.
    I was wondering if I could use the experience to transition to pub fin later? Something to consider, I came from engineering background, working on utilities and infrastructure, so at the end of the day I'll take whatever I can get.
    I just want to know if going from gov't banking -> pub fin is possible.

    Thank you for your advice... :)

  • Cruncharoo's picture

    I don't know much about GIB aside from job posts I have seen from WF but @"pubfinanalyst" says that they are a combined group. This actually adds up because all the job posts read like a pub fin IB job but say GIB.

    I would think with that being said plus the fact that you have some utilities/infrastructure background that a transition to a more 'traditional' pub fin IB group would be fairly easy. Did they mention structuring/pricing/closing deals? If so, that's IB work so you'd be golden.

    This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..

  • Cruncharoo's picture

    This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..