So now that Blair is a dumpster fire, which bank is the best in the Middle Market?
Let's say you're talking to a college sophomore. They tell you they want to go into Middle Market investment banking, as they like the "faster pace, more responsibility, higher deal volume, found exposure" etc.
Where are you telling them to go? Vault rankings would say either Jefferies, Roth or Houlihan. Seems like a fair start. Perhaps Lincoln or Baird?
What are your thoughts? (I know its industry specific, but lets speak in generalities here).
MM is so group dependent that it's really hard to rank properly from a overall bank perspective. Safe to say that each bank in the MM is #1, relatively amongst the MM's, in at least one industry/product. For example, Baird Industrials would be number one/two in the middle market, but its tech team would fall short to Blair's. Obviously HL RX is in another category but that's just another example of how each MM is #1 in at least one specialty. Overall though, if I were to rank the biggest MM banks by number of strong groups, it would be:
Tier 1: HL/Roths/Jeff/Piper/RBC/Baird/Blair
Tier 1a: Harris Williams/Wells Fargo
Tier 2: Lincoln/BMO/Lazard MM, Mizuho
Tier 3: Raymond James, Stifel, Nomura, Credit Agricole
Tier 4: Truist, Cowen, Stephens, TD Bank, BNP Paribas
I generally abhor the obsession on here with rankings/tiers, but, Nomura/Mizuho/Credit Agricole over a Cowen/Stephens? You in Tokyo or Paris bro?
Wells Fargo needs to go up to Tier A
This list sucks.
WF isn't a player in MM M&A, regardless of what you read. They may be staffing up, but they aren't seen at bakeoffs for $200-$750mm deals.
BMO is not on par with Lincoln or LMM.
Mizuho? Who? Nomura? Credit Agricole? None of these losers are actually involved with, let alone leading, North American MM M&A deals.
Cowen and TD Bank separate? BNP?
What BMO not even LMM? Are u insane? The smallest deals they work on are 150M + with some deals closer to $1B. That's not even including all the DCM ECM deals, there an In-between bank in reality. Deals are right around a $1B average.
congrats on the offer at piper
Cowen and RJ need to be more up wtf. Euro/Japan banks suck
Yeah keep up the monkey shit nomura bankers. Literally doing a disservice to undergrads learning the perceptions of brand name on WSO. Nobody is taking Mizuho over RayJay or Credit Agricole over Cowen u buffoons. And I am at a BB so no skin in the game
Jeff/Roths/HL are really in a league of their own, especially given Jefferies growth trajectory, Roths top EB status in Europe and HL strong RX practice
Where would Macquarie be
Congrats on Stifel
This is the labeled the most helpful post and the person listed international BBs next to random US MM banks lol.
I actually take perverse pleasure in watching clueless first years give advice to other clueless juniors.
Top stuff man, very helpful.
where would macquarie be?
I'm quite curious as per your response to the post where would you rank a MM such as Oppenheimer in this tier list, and with that, what industry or product you think they are #1 in.
Something to note on Lincoln: analysts get no modeling exposure. Current senior analyst and have had no opportunities to model - associate is typically in the driver's seat while analysts handle material creation (CIM, pitch books, random marketing materials, etc.). The experience has been very qualitative so far and wouldn't recommend for anyone seriously considering buyside. People are solid and so is deal flow, but would flag the qualitivate nature of the work as something to improve in their analyst program.
How is morale lately and how were bonuses overall?
I'm curious how bonuses were for this year? Were they awful?
What about the midwestern EBs?
Jefferies, Houlihan, RBC, Wells don't really belong in the same bucket. Totally different business models. Jefferies is more like a pseudo-bulge these days. RBC and Wells are full-service banks that lead with their lending commitments and do a ton of DCM. Houlihan is an elite RX shop that occasionally does M&A. Peers for WB are more like Baird, Piper, Cowan, Lincoln, and a dozen other smaller firms.
Blair was the best and most respected middle-market sellside shop. They're defined by a very process oriented, almost cookie cutter approach to cranking out $150mm sell sides by leveraging their connections with LMM and MM PE. You're not doing any complex modeling on the $20m EBITDA regional tubing distributor or whatever. It's probably the closest banking gets to being a real estate agent tbh. Not a bad place to make a career in banking but I would be careful going to a place like that as an analyst. You will not get the same modeling reps or broad experience as the other firms people list as "middle market".
The fact that ppl voted funny SB says a lot lmao
Are they not the leading global M&A franchise by deal count YTD? I thought that was a thing?
That's what they publish (according to Refinitiv). We can debate whether or not they are #1 in sub-$1B transactions or not, but the idea that it "occasionally" does M&A is quite amusing.
I laffed at "Houlihan occassionally does M&A". You are an embarrasment to your IB group.
Lmao yeah like 50% of their revenue is solely M&A.
Man, words are hard.
Yeah this is extremely wrong lmao. I spent a year in PE before coming back to IB and to compare RBC to WF business models is laughable.
Also HL is top 3 MM in HC...
I get the HL people throwing a bitch fit but wtf are you talking about lol
everyone views RBC and wells the same. They define the term "balance sheet bank"
curious about differences you see in WF and RBC. obviously no bank is the same as another one, but it seems like business model is similar
It's the best MM sell side shop but not as good as other MM sell side shops? I'm confused
Wells is not a middle market shop, at least in the sense that Harris williams, Baird, Blair and houlihan are (those are who I think of as tier 1 middle market shops: as in most deal flow sell side M&A for 250-750 ev deals sometimes up to a billion ev, etc.)
wells is in this weird space between middle market and bulge bracket. What I mean is: wells lends money to a bunch of companies especially large public companies and tries to use that to drive IB revenue. Most of their IB revenue is capital markets heavily weighted toward debt capital markets in lev fin and investment grade. Their M&A capabilities are far below that of a true bulge bracket and they are basically a poor man's version of JPM and BofA which are probably the best at being both a lender and advisor in what I think of as a bulge bracket that's also a universal bank which does both corporate banking and investment banking very well. (Sorry citi, although I still consider citi better than wells and a real BB). Wells isn't a true BB because 1) they're not really strong in M&A, 2) not truly global and 3) until a few years ago didn't even do business with financial sponsors even large cap guys like blackstone and kkr much less the mm sponsors. The implications for #3 mean wells lev fin while very high in dollar volume wasn't "real" lev fin until a few years ago because they weren't financing lbos that have single b rated debt (aka much tougher to syndicate but much more lucrative) and that also means they were never gonna be in a position to sell or ipo a sponsor backed portco. Which then means up until about 2019 or so wells had access to half of the total fee pool available to all bbs since about half of IB fees are sponsor related.
on the other side of the market, wells isn't a true middle market player like houlihan because they don't really play in the middle market sponsor space, they're not really equipped to do do, and by extension you'll rarely see them at mm sell side bale offs and they rarely talk to mm sponsors or really have much intel on mm processes and deal flow. Not to the case with the Harris Williams of the world who are constantly selling mm commpanies so they're in constant dialogue with mm sponsors and constantly bringing those sponsors deals and intel and do the same 4 banks keep getting brought in to bake off for mm sponsor assets. Wells middle market group is mostly mining their commercial bank's customers which are usually founder / family owned and if they decide to sell or have financing needs it's much more episodic than sponsor assets and frankly those mandates are much less competitive to win (which from wells perspective is a good thing since they're not really going to compete for mm sponsor well sides)
TLDR: wells is just a different business model than a BB or true mm player
I agree with majority of the info on Wells but with a caveat.
They are NOW much more active in M&A (7 in last years league tables), do a ton of sponsor related deals for BX, KKR, not as much Apollo (why they didn't use their lending power to do this before 2019 boggles my mind/trash management), and management is focused on IB now.
I think as we go forward, they'll definitely lean more towards the larger deals, negating them away from MM. A lot of work will have to be done, but they'll try to mirror the business model JPM, BofA, Citi has, just without the global presence.
How is Citizens perceived?
So off on deal size it's wild.
What would be Roths' closest peers?
Jefferies and HL
Houlihan is by far the best. (I don't work there I promise)
okay, thanks for clarifying with your vast experience
Go touch grass
It's entirely group specific. HL has some leading MM franchises (e.g., Food & Bev within Consumer) and some that are behind Blair, Baird, etc.
It comes down to if "best" is in terms of analyst experience vs bank reputation / deals.
In terms of deal flow / reputation, Blair is certainly top of the list in tech and probably near the top in HC, and strong in other groups too. They probably do more $1b+ deals than any of their competitors, especially in tech / HC.
From an analyst perspective, agree the experience is dwindling. Pay sucked this year, large layoffs, heard WLB is terrible, and culture is obviously impacted by all these factors. Heard from friends their that people are very unhappy at the junior levels.
If I was recruiting for MMIB, obviously depends on group but I've heard good things about HW and HL (non RX). HW especially probably has "worse" deal flow and reputation than WB but is known to pay more and has great buyside exits.
I've heard great things about HL. My friends there are closing more deals than anyone else. I've been told the hours aren't terrible, but the pressure is very high, so take that as you will. There are less turns, but there is a MUCH higher emphasis on getting it perfect the first turn.
Baird guy pumping Baird and casting stones. Go figure.
Telling them my first looks would be to Piper and HW.
- Piper junior guys are very sharp, so will be surrounded by intellectual grinders.
- Medtech group gets you exposure to higher ticket deals.
- HW nice people, guaranteed MM PE exits, breadth of verticals, and $$. On that last point- I went to the HW diversity summit in Richmond, man do those guys know how to wine and dine you. Very fancy dinner night before the summit, goodie bags and materials during the summit (I remember the paper stock on the printouts feeling expensive. Also HW branded Yeti bottle), free flight, free hotel, all food and travel expenses reimbursed. Felt like royalty for 2 days, those guys know how to make living in Richmond sound fun.
Would also not overlook Lazard MM. Pay starts at $120K, and follows the Lazard $200k for associates. Not bad.
As someone in charge of lateral recruiting for my firm, I have always been most impressed with the laterals from Houlihan. Good mix of modeling skills and not being assholes.
There are some firms where the people are great bankers technically, but you can tell everyone there has very sharp elbows.
There are also other banks where the people are not assholes, but I wouldn't trust any of their junior bankers to do my toddler's homework.
Along with Houlihan, I've also seen very strong "total package" bankers come from Wells Fargo, Stephens, BMO and RBC. While there might have been great modelers I've interviewed from other banks, the culture of those banks creates guys I definitely wouldn't want to get a beer with.
What have you noticed of the average WB analyst lateral?
Lots of hair gel. And mandatory dialogue of "I chose WB over a BB"
Technically good but personally a little stiff. Like not assholes (usually) but not someone I'd trust to woo a client.
Wasn't Roth famous for china shill pump and dumps before? What are they famous for now?
Roth capital and Rothschild are very different. The former is who you're referencing
solid sharing especially on the various business models
Not plugged in - what is happening at Blair?
Large round of layoffs. For ex 10/14 healthcare analysts got cut in a day. Not sure about other groups but I would assume similar story.
Bad bonuses. Just had lay offs bout 20% of ib division. Not doing too hot I suppose
I might be biased because I work there but I think HL is the best.
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