Top 5 Restructuring Consulting Firms 2020 (my opinion)

I work in the industry and want to provide my perspective to those that care. This is related to restructuring consulting in the USA. List is alphabetical and not in any order of prestige. Focus is primarily RX (not all the other random ass services they provide). And is RX consulting not RX banking focused.

  1. AlixPartners
  2. Alverez & Marsal
  3. Berkeley Research Group
  4. Conway MaKenzie
  5. FTI Consulting

There are tons of other great firms but I see these folks on the largest pitches consistently. Your thoughts?

 

any chance you could articulate which of these firms specialize in which industries and/or debtor/creditor side work? seems this site could use more info on this industry altogether given the macro climate

 
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Absolutely. Not all engagements are public so I am speaking generally here. And of course there are exceptions. No way I could be completely comprehensive but anyone should call me out if there is something clearly erroneous (i dont think there is). These 5 firms are known for their debtor side work.

  1. Alix / A&M are huge. They have a ton of consultants and by that nature span across a lot of industries.
  2. Alix is very well known in Industrial and Automotive. They also tend to be more operational, generally
  3. Conway is a little more middle market generally but a heavy weight in Automotive. As a whole firm, they are probably the smallest of the bunch and only really do corporate finance work.
  4. BRG is the gold standard for retail which is a convenient place to be during the retail Apocalypse. Also see them quite a bit on larger PE sponsored deals.
  5. FTI seems to be heavier on the creditor side but still has a presence in debtor side work
  6. A&M shows up quite a bit on creditor side as well but still very competitive in debtor side

Firms are changing every year. FTI would have been higher on the list but there has been a mass exodus in the last few years with a bunch of folks leaving for competitors. If you asked me a few years ago, i would have put Deloitte on the list given their volume but similarly, that group scattered and as a whole is not very strong in the RX space anymore.

I'm just shooting off things that come to mind right now. Feel free to ask anything specific if you want a more specific answer.

 

Not sure how familiar you are with the market when FTI has won the 2 largest company side deals this year (frontier communications and hertz) along with other prime company side deals (GNC, 24 hour fitness) among many others. There are very clearly a top 3 then everyone else. FTI wins almost every major prime creditor side deals it pitches or isn’t engaged as company advisor.

 

Completely different. not comparable at all. none of those are competitors. mckinsey does have a small turnaround group but i've heard various stories not all of them good.

Lots of undergrad recruiting but the groups are so small that they do not go nation wide like everyone the big strategy consulting firms. you usually have to be in key cities like LA, Boston, NYC, Chicago and come out of a strong finance program. RX does not recruit out of places like stanford, harvard, etc. Great schools but not the target for an RX group. other than that, network the hell out of the contacts that went to your school and are in the industry. go on linkedin and take a look at people's background in the same city. it'll be very apparent which schools they target.

generally not a lot of MBA recruiting unless you already have a background in RX.

Alix is the only one that is a litte different, they are top heavy and do not have as many jr's. a lot more exprienced / industry people.

 

It happens. Usually folks move on outside of RX vs bounce around within RX. A couple folks have left consulting to go into the banking side (same skill set different work product). Less banking into consulting but i definitely see it. not uncommon to see folks go into PE side. a lot of credit funds and yes a decent amount of RX ops but you do not see a lot of jr's getting that opportunity.

i'll add that RX is such a relationship business. over the last couple years i've been offered a job by a competitor to join their credit side advisory, a client to the VP of M&A, 2 different RX IB's. All of these contacts I made while finishing up an engagement.

 

There is certainly some overlap and they work very closely together on most projects I've been involved with. Very generally speaking.

Consulting - You're traveling every week onsite at the client building out their operational plan. Cash flow, business plan, turnaround / performance improvement plan. You're helping management evaluate bids and financial terms and giving them the day to day guidance of going through a distressed time. You're helping to craft a turnaround business plan that can go to market. If it goes to BK, you're providing the day to day coordination to get the company and all he advisors aligned so that nothing slips.

Banking - You're FINRA licensed. You're trying to help them find a capital structure solution. Finding new financing, investors, running a process. Consultants can help facilitate but this is really marketing of securities and is banker type work. Probably means you're up until 4am building slides haha!

Hope that is helpful.

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