What do FIG bankers do?

Reaching out to an FIG banker at a BB. If a "why FIG?" question is asked would it be intelligent to answer by saying something along the following lines:

"FIG is a group that has good deal flow most of the times. In bear markets ==> restructuring, and in bull markets ==> new products, IPOs etc. Also newer, more stringent regulations mean that banks will change the way they finance their operations which may affect their BS."

Does any of what I said make sense?? Do FIG bankers undertake restructuring for failing financial institutions? or do they only do capital raising and M&A??

Could someone kindly give me better answer or tell me what different sorts of deals do FIG bankers undertake?

Thanks in advance.

Comments (51)

Apr 22, 2012 - 7:34pm
Boothorbust, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I hate these "Tell me how to answer this question" posts. If you need to come to a forum to get people to tell you why you like something, then you clearly don't like it enough to do it for a living for several years.

  • 3
Apr 22, 2012 - 8:22pm
Sandhurst, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You gotta have a story. What inspired you to want to be a FIG banker more than anything else in the world?

"There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat."
Apr 22, 2012 - 8:33pm
SECfinance, what's your opinion? Comment below:

M&I has a FIG article

Now find a way to fit that into your story and what you want to do.

MM IB -> TMT Corporate Development -> New Ventures
Apr 22, 2012 - 8:45pm
bsmonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:
SECfinance:
M&I has a FIG article

Now find a way to fit that into your story and what you want to do.

Thanks a lot for your input boothorbust, sandhurst, SECfinance and Human.

GS, BX. Will work for prestige.
Apr 22, 2012 - 8:41pm
Human, what's your opinion? Comment below:

No one can really answer "why" fit-type question. There is no such thing as a cookie-cutter answer on this. You need to ask yourself that.

"I am the hero of the story. I don't need to be saved."
Best Response
Apr 22, 2012 - 11:27pm
Vancouver Canucks 2011, what's your opinion? Comment below:
bsmonkey:
"FIG is a group that has good deal flow most of the times. In bear markets ==> restructuring, and in bull markets ==> new products, IPOs etc. Also newer, more stringent regulations mean that banks will change the way they finance their operations which may affect their BS."

Does any of what I said make sense?? Do FIG bankers undertake restructuring for failing financial institutions? or do they only do capital raising and M&A??

FIG consistently represents the biggest revenue producers at all top investment banks. At bulge bracket banks, FIG generate around 30% of investment banking fees. Furthermore, the FIG practice tends the be the most complicated, complex and technical - so many people find it intellectually-stimulating. And a FIG banker will always be busy. Very busy in good markets with M&A; even busier in bad markets with capital raisings. Also, FIG is a great training ground if you want to stay in finance. A lot of leadership in investment banks and other financial institutions have FIG backgrounds.

One thing to note, FIG has some very distinct verticals, consisting of asset managers, insurance companies, banks / depositors, financial technology firms, and specialty finance companies. Some firms like JP Morgan also have a governments vertical as well. If someone asks you "Why FIG? - they will most certainly also ask you "Which vertical are your interested in?"

May 2, 2012 - 4:47am
twobitpirate, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Vancouver Canucks 2011:
bsmonkey:
"FIG is a group that has good deal flow most of the times. In bear markets ==> restructuring, and in bull markets ==> new products, IPOs etc. Also newer, more stringent regulations mean that banks will change the way they finance their operations which may affect their BS."

Does any of what I said make sense?? Do FIG bankers undertake restructuring for failing financial institutions? or do they only do capital raising and M&A??

FIG consistently represents the biggest revenue producers at all top investment banks. At bulge bracket banks, FIG generate around 30% of investment banking fees. Furthermore, the FIG practice tends the be the most complicated, complex and technical - so many people find it intellectually-stimulating. And a FIG banker will always be busy. Very busy in good markets with M&A; even busier in bad markets with capital raisings. Also, FIG is a great training ground if you want to stay in finance. A lot of leadership in investment banks and other financial institutions have FIG backgrounds.

One thing to note, FIG has some very distinct verticals, consisting of asset managers, insurance companies, banks / depositors, financial technology firms, and specialty finance companies. Some firms like JP Morgan also have a governments vertical as well. If someone asks you "Why FIG? - they will most certainly also ask you "Which vertical are your interested in?"

bravo. excellently done.

Funniest
Apr 23, 2012 - 6:05am
TonyPerkis, what's your opinion? Comment below:

they munch on figs and fruits of other variety all day

I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk
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May 2, 2012 - 4:48am
PickYourBattles, what's your opinion? Comment below:

FIG Banking - Exit opps? (Originally Posted: 02/18/2009)

I ran a search but a lot of the viewpoints seem to be relatively outdated -- FIG has obviously gotten a lot more active and complex over the past 12-18 months. Where exactly are the opportunities in the financial institutions space going forward (continued consolidation plays among banks, rollups in the exchange space, more investments in clearing & settlement systems in light of increased gov. regulations, etc.)?

Also, to all current FIG bankers, what made you interested in the space and what are the exit opportunities post-IB? There seems to be a stigma associated with FIG banking because of the highly specialized skill set you develop, but top FIG groups (GS/MS/JPM) must place into PE pretty decently, right?

May 2, 2012 - 4:52am
Classic, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The experience you get in a FIG group is interesting.

FIG financials are typically the most complex, with balance sheets and income statements that differ significantly from the widget companies you deal with in school. In that regard, you become good at analyzing complex financial structures, but at the same time, placing into a traditional PE can be slightly more difficult because the companies they invest in (traditional bread and butter firms) will not require the same type of financial statement analysis that a FIG company does. However, placement into FIG-specific PE firms such as JC Flowers is strong.

If this is a SA consideration, the FIG space will provide a strong learning experience because all FIG companies are currently in need of capital, and consolidation is a key factor in the industry. These trends contribute to high deal flow, especially within the top FIG groups you mentioned, which is key to a fulfilling internship.

May 2, 2012 - 4:55am
Salam Shpekov, what's your opinion? Comment below:

FIG Groups - sharing my knowledge and asking for yours (Originally Posted: 01/09/2007)

Hello. What do you guys think about FIG? I really like the industry and I am very interested in working for such a group. However, I have heard that it is very specialized and that might be bad for the future. However, FIG is an industry that, in my opinion, will always have a decent amount of activity, so that would be good long term. Also, couldanyone rank the FIG teams of the top banks (or share any info), in particular CS, JPM, DB, UBS.

I know that Lehman has a good one (did Evercore's IPO, I believe - a huge deal), and Citi too (large number of deals, very strong historically). I also know that CS used to have a good one but a lot of bankers jumped ship to DB. Is DB up and coming in FIG? What's the perception on the Street? Thanks in advance!

May 2, 2012 - 4:56am
ghosht, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A lot of people say FIG is very specialized, and its country specific etc...even the accounting is different. But I agree, there are always going to be banks and insurance companies, so FIG will always have activity.

I know UBS's FIG is a solid group. I've personally met many people there, and they are all round good people. I know the group is pretty well respected on the street too, they did the MBNA deal.

May 2, 2012 - 4:57am
Delta Storm, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Question for anyone in FIG (Originally Posted: 08/04/2014)

My question is for those in FIG or have been in FIG investment banking before. I don't know much about FIG banking (quite frankly, I hear almost no one does except those working in it), which is why I'm asking this.

Is having regulatory experience beneficial?

By "experience" I mean a summer internship, not full-time for years.

Now I know bankers hate regulators (and perhaps public sector experience in general), so I do expect some backlash here. If you have some, please speak your mind but do please explain why if you can.

I'm interning with a regulatory agency now (for commercial banks). Now I never expected what I learn this summer to be directly valuable in FIG because I know the way I look at banks and FIG Banking does differs: we look from the customers' perspective while FIG does from the shareholders' perspective. I've interned at a boutique before so I know valuation metrics, and the metrics regulatory agencies use differ (They're more akin to accounting/performance metrics rather than valuation).

But I've talked to some folks in Banking (some were MDs) and after explaining what I do, they actually think I'd fit well in FIG given my regulatory background. Of course not all of them were in FIG...

What I do is examine banks within my offices geographical coverage and assess their risk profile and overall well being using the CAMELS rating system. The way we make these ratings is by looking at the bank's financials and performance ratios for level and historical changes (relative tons peer group).

May 2, 2012 - 4:58am
ai215, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Can't hurt, at least you'd know how to look at bank financials, understand the space and whats happening (changes in regs, who the players are, etc.). I'd imagine you would take less time to get up to speed on the industry as someone with no FIG exposure

Array

  • 1
May 2, 2012 - 4:59am
-caP1taL1sm.., what's your opinion? Comment below:

Interesting article which is pretty specific to your situation: http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-06-26/strict-regulation-makes-the-revolving-door-spin-faster

"I did it for me...I liked it...I was good at it. And I was really... I was alive."
May 2, 2012 - 5:02am
romulusmars, what's your opinion? Comment below:

FIG - Details on FIG? (Originally Posted: 09/11/2007)

How can one learn more about the details of what FIG does? Everybody knows they work with financial and insurance companies, but I'm interested in gaining more technical details. I know the McKinsey valuation book has a great chapter on bank valuations. What other books, articles, etc. are out there?

May 2, 2012 - 5:03am
Kerchak, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Have you asked her? I think the two of you will cross paths if you keep up the interest in FIG. I'm pretty interested in the subject myself. Have you ever heard of the American Bankers Association? They have some courses that are online.

Financial Institutions, Markets, and Money by David S. Kidwell, David W. Blackwell, David A. Whidbee and Richard L Peterson

That might be the best bet for you.

  • 1
May 2, 2012 - 5:05am
doctortt, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What is FIG? (Originally Posted: 09/19/2010)

Can someone please tell me what FIG is? I tried to search but found nothing useful.

May 2, 2012 - 5:10am
Gekko21, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Insurance companies, bank mergers, ect

"Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, for knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA."
May 2, 2012 - 5:11am
jjdog, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In a BB, FIG is a team involved in client coverage, so the team has a list of clients (financial institutions) that is covers, usually done by region.

Can kinda look at it like a GP (similar to FIG) and a specialist (similar to a product team) in medecine. FIG is sometimes the first contact with the client, then it refers the client to a specific product team.

May 2, 2012 - 5:12am
ibintx, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Look under About -> FAQ

Basically an industry group that covers financial companies

May 2, 2012 - 5:14am
stang6988, what's your opinion? Comment below:

FIG Thoughts (Originally Posted: 04/09/2009)

Hey Everyone! I know this has been discussed in previous threads, but with the current dynamic economic environment I think an update is warranted. What are your thoughts on being in a FIG group at a BB in terms of exit ops, learning opportunities, types of deals, prestige, etc.? Also, how would you rank the banks according to FIG groups? Thanks!

May 2, 2012 - 5:17am
gomes3pc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Because of how you value FIG companies, using the DDM, it isn't considered a great track for getting into PE or very transferable to other industries. However, there are plenty of FIG bankers that have gone onto top shops. Dealmaking has obviously been incredibly busy so that's always a good thing for junior bankers looking to learn.

May 2, 2012 - 5:18am
Oconnor, what's your opinion? Comment below:
gomes3pc:
Because of how you value FIG companies, using the DDM, it isn't considered a great track for getting into PE or very transferable to other industries. However, there are plenty of FIG bankers that have gone onto top shops. Dealmaking has obviously been incredibly busy so that's always a good thing for junior bankers looking to learn.

To be honest a DDM in itself is not exactly all that different from a DCF and if you are good at one you can become quite good at the other very quickly. It's not exactly why it's harder to get into PE. The real reason is just that everything you cover is much different to your run of the mill co and your run of the mill PE fund doesn't invest in financials for obvious reasons (how do you lever a bank?). So why take a FIG analyst when you can have one who covered industrials, everything else equal. That said there are a good few specialist PE firms out there, JC Flowers being the most prestigious I guess and then there are also the PE co's that are doing more financial services stuff these days, for example a guy I knew went to one of the mega funds recently.

  • 3
May 2, 2012 - 5:21am
Marcus_Halberstram, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I've worked on a few FIG deals and FIG is for the large part, insufferable in my opinion. Its just incredibly boring shit and very archaic.

So far as exit ops... like others had mentioned its not a very transferable skill-set. You're better off trying to get into a restructuring group(easier said than done), but you'll get plenty of experience across a broad range of industries, including FIG.

Array
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May 2, 2012 - 5:24am
clowds, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Is FIG really a that specialized? (Originally Posted: 03/13/2011)

I am trying to figure out what group to pick for my SA position. I was seriously considering FIG, but everyone I've talked to (including some WSOers) all say that FIG is a pigeonhole-type group because banks balance sheets are so specialized and that none of the skills are transferable.

I understand bank balance sheets are complex, but is the statement above true? Do any of you know someone who worked their 2 years in FIG and moved to something more traditional? (like healthcare, tech, etc) Or even a PE/HF that doesn't specialize in banks/insurance companies?

May 2, 2012 - 5:25am
can_lah, what's your opinion? Comment below:

how much truth is there to the whole "if you can model a bank, you can model anything."?

yes GS FIG places amazingly, but how about MS/JPM?

May 2, 2012 - 5:26am
analystforhire, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I don't think it's necessarily the complex BS that may make FIG seem untransferable. It's the metrics and valuation methods that are different. On a broader level, the way banks make money is much different than the way other companies make money, and understanding the different cash flows and drivers is different.

That said, top FIG groups place well in general PE and other non-FIG activities, including other IBD groups. May be more of an uphill battle from 2nd or 3rd tier FIG, but on the other hand, looks to be an active space in the next few years and so experience should be good.

May 2, 2012 - 5:27am
DurbanDiMangus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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May 2, 2012 - 5:30am
clowds, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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