Apr 07, 2024

Is Leveraged Finance even worth it in Paris ? Is London better ?

Hi fellow monkeys,

I was wondering how LevFin juniors in London think about their job ?

I'm currently interning at big French bank's (BNP/SG/CA) LevFin team in Paris. I really love my team's culture ans see myself going forward in the path of LevFin in IB but what I saw during these months of internship worries me a bit:

-Pay: below M&A in the same bank and way below BB/EB in Paris, with An1 full package at the range of €90k in an "average" year (i.e. not 2022 and 2023)

-Prestige/exit: saw some decent exits from my team but it's often lateral to very small teams in BB/EB, and two good exits to buyside, so I would say decent but very inconsistant. Besides, people from non-credit background see us as an obscure group and recognition is no where near M&A. 

-Deals: mostly covering French PE, it's said that MFs go to US BBs and their LF group in London even for buyout targets in France.

I have the feeling that LevFin is quite watered down in France compared to the full fledged product group described on WSO.

Is London's exposure much better ?

In the case where I stay in Paris, would be Debt Advisory a more lucrative (pays & exit to buyside) path among credit roles ?

Is there any strong LF group in Paris that I missed out ?

Thanks for your insights guys.


Based on the insights from the WSO dataset, the landscape of Leveraged Finance (LevFin) in London versus Paris does indeed show some differences, particularly in terms of deal flow, prestige, and exit opportunities. Here's a breakdown to address your concerns and questions:

  1. Pay and Prestige: It's noted that LevFin roles in London tend to offer competitive compensation packages compared to Paris, aligning more closely with the market standards of M&A roles. The prestige and recognition of LevFin teams in London are also generally higher due to the city's status as a major financial hub. This can translate to better exit opportunities and career progression.

  2. Deal Flow and Exposure: London's financial market is more international, providing LevFin professionals with exposure to a broader range of deals, including those involving major global players and cross-border transactions. The presence of many top-tier banks and financial institutions in London means that the city often sees more significant and high-profile LevFin deals, including those involving large multinational corporations and private equity firms.

  3. Exit Opportunities: The broader and more high-profile deal experience in London can lead to more consistent and lucrative exit opportunities. Professionals in London's LevFin teams have been known to transition to prestigious buy-side roles, including private equity, credit funds, and special situations groups, more frequently and with greater ease than their counterparts in Paris.

  4. Debt Advisory in Paris: If you decide to stay in Paris, exploring Debt Advisory roles could indeed offer a more lucrative path, especially if you're looking for exposure to a variety of credit-related transactions and potentially better exit opportunities to the buy-side. Debt Advisory teams often work on a diverse set of transactions, providing strategic advice on capital structure, refinancing, and restructuring, which can be valuable experience for a career in investment banking or on the buy-side.

  5. Strong LevFin Groups in Paris: While the LevFin scene in Paris may not be as robust as in London, there are still reputable teams within the big French banks (BNP, SG, CA) and some international banks with a presence in Paris. It's worth conducting informational interviews and networking with professionals in the industry to identify any specific teams known for their deal flow and culture.

In conclusion, while Paris offers a strong culture and valuable experience within LevFin, London's broader market, higher deal flow, and more significant international exposure generally provide better compensation, prestige, and exit opportunities. However, the best path depends on your career goals, preferences for geographic location, and the specific opportunities available to you.

Sources: Lev Fin Outlook & Best Groups 2020, LevFin in London, Top groups at BOFA London, https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forum/investment-banking/london-vs-new-york-city?customgpt=1, Full time offers London: JPM vs Moelis vs Lazard

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

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