Updated LA Banking Scene (2024)

Currently recruiting for LA IB and would appreciate thoughts on top shops, WLB, exits, etc. Seems like the older forums are pretty outdated given there’s been a lot of changes this past year:

 

They had a PubFin LA office with a good number of people in it (both banking and S&T) before they fired the whole department. Would imagine there are other groups still out there on the Citi side.

 

i just recruited this cycle and focused heavily on LA, found it pretty difficult as I don't share any personal connections to LA and had to do a lot of convincing people I genuinely wanted to be there, but still managed to snag a couple interviews. Networked with a few of the firms you mentioned, really liked Santander (i think they're the ones that poached the Barclays MD?), everyone seemed super chill, friendly and smart there. Great exits and analyst experience from what I heard. I found the UBS folk to be kinda stuffy and off-putting, wasn't very impressed with Wells either. Don't think you'd necessarily consider it a top shop but Intrepid Investment Bankers seemed to be a great place as well. Solid MM experience and great place to be a career banker given comp structure. Talked to an associate who was rolling into the office at 10am and said it was an early start that day. 

 

totally, I'd say 80% of the exits the CS LA office used to see (Ares, Warbug, LGP, Clearlake, FP, Oaktree) are going to be consistent with what the Santander office will see going forward. Santander has made the LA office its West Coast HQ and from my networking there's about 50ish bankers there now but they're planning to make it to about 150+ over the next several years. The office has Sponsors, REGAL and Industrials and I believe everyone is generalist across those 3 vertical up until the VP level. Analyst experience is super technical with tons of modeling experience especially since the FSG group is execution focused, I think they do a lot of the Lev Fin stuff too (read old threads on the CS LA office, the experience will be very similar to Santander now). I agree with the other poster below in that they're going to be a top LA shop as the continue to grow over the next few years. Would not hesitate to take on offer there if given one, was a shame their recruiting timeline was super late this year and I had already accepted elsewhere before they had started their process. Haters will still hate because its not a "prestigious bank" and that may be true for the rest of Santander but the LA office is awesome imo.

 

Can confirm if you get lucky at intrepid you can get not just solid but probably be the highest paid associate on the street lol. Whoever was rolling in at 10AM and claiming that it was an early start to the day is MAD CAPPING tho.

 

guess I stand corrected lol, do you have any insight on what the comp range is at intrepid for associates?

 

CS was up there with Moelis as the top two shops in LA. The fact that Santander, WF, and UBS went from having minimal LA presence to getting CS MDs is huge.

Santander got the bulk of the talent and poached the FSG MD from Barclays you mentioned. I know this sounds crazy, but I would not be surprised if they become one of the best offices on the west coast in a few years. WF got a REGAL MD to bolster their already strong REGAL franchise. UBS kept a very strong sponsors MD who now leads the office.

LA banking is a gem – you honestly can’t go wrong with any firm since the MDs here are all very strong. Good luck with recruiting!

 

JPM - Expanded regional team over last few years to roughly 30 bankers, mainly focused on west coast M&A with being industry agnostic. Further has a smaller consumer & retail / disruptive commerce team, quite technical group and sees a lot of good deal flow. Also has a few tech bankers. Located in Century City.

 

Agreed that JPM is expanding and an exciting place to be. Buddy of mine works there and loves it, though he told me they are very much middle market focused. Can you confirm?

 

I don't work in LA, but the Barclays LA FSG team seems like such a great place, even without the MD that left. Great team culture, good WLB, and strong exits considering the WLB.

 
Most Helpful
  • Moelis LA is the best LA shop and places really well.
  • PWP LA has been expanding. They have some really strong MDs and seem like they’re a great team.
  • Houlihan LA has over 100 and is the biggest in the area. MM shop but their RX team (as mentioned in multiple other threads) is great.
  • Barclays LA does primarily Financial Sponsors coverage and they are a very tight knit group, really liked talking with them.
  • Ducera LA does primarily RX, it’s a really small office but they’re new and plan on expanding. Hours are tough (some SAs didn’t accept returns), it’s very technical, but their team is good (a lot of ex. HL RX)
  • BofA LA - pretty big shop, split between EGRC (mid market tech primarily group) and FIG,
  • GS LA - small HC team
  • Morgan Stanley/JPM LA - I’m just salty they didn’t get on the phone with me but they’re both good
  • UBS LA - acquired some of CS sponsors group which was strong, not sure how dealflow is now
  • Rothschild LA - couldn’t say anything abt them but they do have decent numbers
  • Wells Fargo LA - picked up one great REGAL MD from CS (does primarily Vegas deals and he’s great), rest MM
  • MUFG LA - Project Finance, lots of underwriting
  • Lazard LA - lean team, only A&D with 1 prominent MD
  • Citi LA - lean mining team
  • The Raine Group LA - do not take analysts (associates & up), media & entertainment and they hit above their weight
 

Thank you! Do you know how much weight your bank carries when recruiting for LA PE? Also, why do you think Morgan Stanley is good? I heard they canceled their analyst program.

 

Lee try I’m an incoming LA SA and know pretty much nothing about PE recruiting, though your bank and group definitely matter.

Also, not sure about MS LA, they allowed applicants to choose LA but not sure if they accepted or plan to accept any with juniors moving.

 

adding to this, GS also has a small consumer team, only takes like 1-2 analysts every year. 

 

At the MBA/Associate level, what schools would you say are direct feeders to LA EBs (Moelis, EVR, PWP, HL, Raine, Ducera, etc...)?

Is it just T15 all in, or is there higher pull from certain WC schools like USC, UCLA, Berkeley, Stanford?

Currently preparing to apply to grad schools, and I would like to recruit for LA (I'm from California), but I was under the impression that east coast schools are better for banking, so was just going to suck it up and apply to the usual suspects like Cornell, NYU, Ross, but if these schools don't fare that well in WC recruiting, then I don't want to waste my time, since I would love to remain here.

 

West coast schools like UCLA, USC, Berkeley, Stanford, etc are all great for recruiting for LA banking. I would say they are on the same tier or even slightly better than many of the well known east coast schools for LA banking recruiting. If there’s a chance you would want to work on the east coast though, an east coast school is a safer all around bet.

 

For SoCal, USC & UCLA are by far the biggest MBA Summer Aso feeders

 

I went to a program in the Midwest and superday'd with two of the EBs listed. I went to undegrad in LA area, so I was able to tap that network to get chats in offices, but it definitely possible to make inroads without being in the CA based programs. Haas doesn't have a large contingent aiming for IB and Stanford GSB is more buyside/VC, so beyond Anderson and Marshall other schools can break in to fill seats. I spoke with a variety of people from Columbia, Stern, Tuck, Darden etc during coffee chats who either had ties to LA, needed to be in LA due to partner preference, or were interested in the coverage areas in LA offices. You'll just have to answer 'why LA?' [insert stories about your connection to the area] and 'why didn't you go to school of the West Coast if you wanted LA?' [insert stories about how another program provided far more scholarship, fits your personal/academic goals better, has better track record of preparing MBA associates to enter banking, etc]. They just want to know you're not looking to try and backdoor your way into NY offices and committed to staying in LA.

NYC is larger office and financial hub, so the East Coast programs are going to have more structure, history, and placement to IB. Can certainly get IB from somewhere like Anderson, you may just have to be more self-disciplined about your recruiting versus a more structured IB-track program.  

 

UCLA is the best school for LA IB at the MBA level.

USC is #2 at a distance (they're catching up though). I believe some more elite shops (PWP/MS/GS) only consider UCLA students for their LA team, but most major shops in LA (Moelis/HL/UBS/Barclays/Lincoln/Santander) consider both UCLA & USC target programs.

Then there's Berkeley & M7, which aren't that far behind USC for LA recruiting if you can prove your connection to LA.

 

Split between a Capital Advisory Group and an M&A group. They take non-targets and people from non-traditional backgrounds who are great people. Couldn’t discuss dealflow but a typical LMM.

 

Additions in bold:

  • Moelis LA is the best LA shop and places really well. Most established, high attrition, places well. 
  • PWP LA has been expanding. They have some really strong MDs and seem like they’re a great team. Lot of ex-BofA / Lazard, word is that it’s not the best culture and seems to be very understaffed. 
  • Houlihan LA has over 100 and is the biggest in the area. MM shop but their RX team (as mentioned in multiple other threads) is great. Solid, doing more TMT too with acquisition of GCA. RX is top. 
  • Barclays LA does primarily Financial Sponsors coverage and they are a very tight knit group, really liked talking with them. Younger Sponsor MD left for Santander, office has not been that active last few years. Barclays TMT effectively moved to UBS as well which is not great for west coast Sponsors. 
  • Ducera LA does primarily RX, it’s a really small office but they’re new and plan on expanding. Hours are tough (some SAs didn’t accept returns), it’s very technical, but their team is good (a lot of ex. HL RX). 
  • BofA LA - pretty big shop, split between EGRC (mid market tech primarily group) and FIG,  Tracks, well-staffed office. 
  • GS LA - small HC team. HC team is built out here and active. C&R team is small. Some very senior people sit out in LA as well but don’t typically staff out of the office. 
  • Morgan Stanley/JPM LA - I’m just salty they didn’t get on the phone with me but they’re both good. MS cut analyst program in LA and not sure if they’re continuing ASO program (don’t believe they are). Seems like they’re focused on SF/NY. No idea on JPM, they don’t hire out of school for this office to my knowledge
  • UBS LA - acquired some of CS sponsors group which was strong, not sure how dealflow is now. Sponsors and LF now, all legacy CS plus a few other CS ppl in M&A and consumer/retail that are solid. No longer REGAL as those MDs left for WF/Santander. 
  • Rothschild LA - couldn’t say anything abt them but they do have decent numbers. Focusing less on LA, didn’t hire new ASO summers this year. 
  • Wells Fargo LA - picked up one great REGAL MD from CS (does primarily Vegas deals and he’s great), rest MM accurate
  • Santander LA - Picked up 3 REGAL MDs from CS and most senior Sponsor MD (+barclays MD mentioned earlier and Industrials and M&A MDs). A lot of great talent at all levels but needs to materially staff up at junior levels (top heavy).  Currently a startup investment bank but a lot of people invested in making it work. On PE placement, can’t judge as it’s their first class and mostly off-cycle 
  • MUFG LA - Project Finance, lots of underwriting Accurate
  • Lazard LA - lean team, only A&D with 1 prominent MD used to be top A&D shop but seems like it’s getting picked over by PWP and others 
  • Citi LA - lean mining team Accurate, downtown 
  • The Raine Group LA - do not take analysts (associates & up), media & entertainment and they hit above their weight typically you have to lateral from NY office or be an absolute rockstar to get a role here. merchant bank so mix of advisory/investing even at junior levels 
 

Stifel is known for PubFin but couldn’t comment on current dealflow. MUFG underwrites a lot and does well for themselves. Not sure if there are any other LA shops that are prominent in the space.

 

I think PWP poached a media MD this year pretty sure they got the AD MD 2-3 years ago, honestly not sure what’s left of the Lazard LA office

 

Houlihan is the biggest shop in LA for banking. HLs headquarters are in LA and has 100+ bankers. RX has around 30-50 heads and the next biggest team is Business Services. Smaller coverage groups like A&D and Consumer also have some MDs in LA but for corp fin is mostly Business Services. They are a solid shop but will be mostly looking at MM/UMM deals. HL focusses on volume and churn out an absurd number of deals - not the fanciest or headline deals but you can get some solid deal experience there.

Moelis is the second biggest shop in LA but their culture is known across LA to be brutal. Hours are very rough and heard some of their MDs treat their analysts / associates like slaves. They are an extremely strong team (probably the best in LA) tho so I guess that is the payoff to that. 

BBs in LA (exclude DB/UBS due to minimal presence) mostly handle regional banking (GS) or are MM groups (JPM and BofA). BBs in LA have small team sizes 3-5 people for each new class. 

PWP LA is a solid group focusing on Industrials. Similar size to BBs in LA. 

The firms mentioned above are probably the biggest players in LA for Banking.

There are other groups like Macquarie, Stifel, Lincoln, Wells Fargo but don't know much about them

RBC pulled their analysts from LA recently and moved them to NY or SF. 

 

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