Is ECM at all banks easy/lazy

I’m at a BB bank with a relatively weak ECM franchise so I’m curious if the ECM teams are generally lazy / do nothing across all banks, or if i’m missing something.

Seems like all they do is pump out boilerplate market update / IPO update slides, creds, themes, etc that they can use in every book. Whenever something comes up that is technical and/or needs to be mildly tailored to a specific client or ask, they do everything they can to punt it off to coverage bankers.

Some people argue “everything is live” but that’s also the case with M&A and Levfin, and they do their work.

I don’t mean this to be overly accusatory as I’m sure there are very intelligent ECM folks, especially at the top levels. It’s just that every book I do with ECM is excruciatingly painful because they don’t really do anything that requires thought.

Maybe it’s different at banks with stronger ECM franchises.

Most Helpful

The truth of ECM is:

  • most of the time the lead left does all the work
  • albeit the lawyer does all the prospectus drafting
  • oh but the actual drafting is done by management
  • and same on presentation
  • and all the regulatory stuff is done by counsel anyway

Interestingly, most of the heavy lifting is worth shit if the bank doesn’t deliver on the public side, and ECM needs to have a good read of the ability to place paper.

In a lead role, most of the work will fall on the coverage team. But ultimately if the company is something that doesn’t excite the sales force or where the bank covers the wrong clients, itms worthless (disclosure: i’ve been in such a deal where my firm didn’t deliver. I was coverage & leading all the heavy lifting for 6 months, all to realize after deal that none of the investors our sales covered had any interest in that size / geography of deal. The client only saw the latter, pretty bruising experience).

The value of an ECM team is to 1) read market conditions & help clients plan for their needs, 2) interface with the public side of the firewall and assess whether there is a market for the bank’s investor base for this investment thesis.

Fundamentally, it’s a role that’s a bit useless at the very junior level (except some process management), but becomes more valuable at senior level.

If you are a junior, the best way to work with ECM is to ensure that 1) they tweak the boilerplate as necessary, and 2) don’t screw you over in their timetable management (“we’re seeing company X Thursday this week to pitch for a new issuance, can you guys send us your standard pages on the company for [investment thesis / market overview / relative positioning / XYZ that doesn’t exist and requires real work]

It's not very different at a bank well-regarded for their ECM franchise either, at least at the junior level. It's process heavy and there's no "real" analysis being done, but the difference is no one really blames them for that. Would say common view here is that they are the farthest thing from lazy / stupid - they're usually just on a million deals at the same time and staffed very leanly. No idea how they keep up with all the processes they are on honestly. 

What's "easy" or at least better about ECM at a stronger franchise is it seems like they have a lot more autonomy at the junior level. Associates get to operate like directors, running deals as main ECM points of contact, and analysts get to do work with limited/zero oversight. The quality of their work is often dog shit, ngl. But cool they get to operate so efficiently and take real ownership in their work / team results. Certainly different than IBD

At my bank (top 10 in ECM), ECM is the one coordinating with lawyers on documentation and giving direction as to what’s market precedent (their job is knowing the market after all). Coverage team does 100% of the heavy lifting on the MP and other marketing materials. My group would be completely lost without the ECM team guiding us on what to do on a live deal. There is a VP on our ECM team who knows how to navigate all the legal-ese in docs to the point I thought he had gone to law school.

On pitches, they do very basic things as you noted.

Blanditiis aut consequuntur rerum. Aut sit rem quisquam ducimus.

Occaecati et voluptas provident non. Aut quasi officia nam reiciendis. Quibusdam et qui voluptatibus dolorum consectetur et recusandae. Voluptatem sed mollitia dicta velit aperiam eos eos quo. Officiis hic voluptatum earum ducimus enim blanditiis eligendi.

Iste cum culpa voluptas et et voluptas. Quo saepe in tempora et vel sit vel. Qui autem libero nostrum id harum rem repudiandae cum. Blanditiis tempore et dolores sunt reprehenderit eligendi.

Hic quia ea aliquam exercitationem. Est reprehenderit est enim mollitia. Maiores quo rerum officia soluta. Quis accusantium sit alias voluptatem perferendis iusto.

Career Advancement Opportunities

September 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres (++) 99.6%
  • Lincoln International (==) 99.1%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.7%
  • William Blair 12 98.2%
  • Financial Technology Partners 02 97.8%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

September 2023 Investment Banking

  • William Blair 04 99.6%
  • Lincoln International 11 99.1%
  • Canaccord Genuity 18 98.7%
  • Jefferies & Company 07 98.2%
  • Stephens Inc 11 97.8%

Professional Growth Opportunities

September 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lincoln International 01 99.6%
  • Lazard Freres 17 99.1%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.7%
  • Financial Technology Partners 06 98.2%
  • UBS AG 15 97.8%

Total Avg Compensation

September 2023 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (6) $592
  • Vice President (33) $392
  • Associates (160) $261
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (14) $187
  • 2nd Year Analyst (101) $169
  • 1st Year Analyst (309) $167
  • Intern/Summer Associate (48) $167
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (225) $94
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”

From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”