Title says it all, which banks in Houston have the best buyside exit opps? How does this vary if you want Energy vs. Generalist, PE vs. HF, MF vs. MM etc? Are people mostly constrained to Houston or can they recruit for Dallas/Austin or NYC/SF/etc? thanks!

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Before starting this I want to say something. As a general rule, you can place from anywhere. But the uphill battle you face, or lack of it, is tied with bank's prestige, among other factors (GPA, undergrad, deal experience, etc.)

Now, going to take a shot at this:

Barclays and CS have historically had the best local, energy-specific placements. Think places like First Reserve, NGP, Quantum, etc.. This has died down as these banks have gotten weaker. Barclays has probably seen the biggest slide, and CS has fallen a bit (but analysts can still place well).

GS and MS have good placements both with local, energy PE funds and megafunds. Both are not 'crushing it,' but you can do well from these places. MS has had a really good run with placement lately. JPM probably fits into this group too. Not necessarily crushing it deal-flow wise, but their analysts get good placements with the help of being a top name.

Citi is one of the top banks deal-flow wise in Houston. Trauber and his bankers bring in a lot of cash. But capital markets deals aren't as sexy for analyst placements. The top analysts in this group have really good placement (TPG, Riverstone, etc.), but the analyst class sizes are so large that the per-capita stats get diluted a bit. If you are lucky enough to get a Spectra-Enbridge type deal, you can go anywhere you want.

For the rest, as far as placement goes:
BAML does alright. Placement is pretty weak relative to other banks. But you can still land at some good places. Houston group is pretty much ran as a corporate ATM, tough for deal experience.

UBS and DB are terrible, wouldn't touch them. You can still place, but your group's reputation won't do you any favors. Throw BMO in here too.

..not BB but big: Wells and RBC. Again, wouldn't touch them if I had options.

EB / Boutique:
Evercore probably has the strongest placement out of any of the banks in Houston. It has both general prestige and industry specific deal-flow. In addition, the lack of capital markets work makes it easier for analysts to get good deal experience before interviewing. They have been on a tear lately with respect to placement. You can exit to megafund, bigger energy-specific shops, and middle market -- and you can do it in your first year (may not be the same case at Citi). From what I hear thought, it's an absolute sweatshop.

Jefferies has been the best bank recently deal-flow wise out of probably all of the banks in Houston, especially if you exclude capital markets work (they dominate upstream A&D). If you like big bonuses this shop is good too. As far as placement, the general prestige of the Jefferies name makes it a bit more of an uphill battle for megafunds. But if you are focusing more on energy-specific funds, especially for upstream A&D work, there is really no better place to be. After two years here, you will have the best upstream A&D technical skills on the street.

Lazard and Moelis are pretty weak in Houston. You can exit of course, as is the case with all of these places,

TPH is a good boutique in Houston. Not many people know of TPH outside of energy finance which makes it worse for general recruiting. Still has solid energy specific fund recruiting. Middle of the road for exits. Simmons is probably in the same boat, possibly being a bit weaker (but individual candidates interviewing skills will far outweigh any marginal comparison).

There's some other banks such as Scotia, Stifel, Guggenheim. I really have no idea what they do in Houston.

Petrie is sort of a wildcard. The place is brutal, no one has heard of them outside of energy. But they occasionally go on runs and find themselves on some really big deals (Noble - Clayton). Definitely not on the top of headhunters list, but if you put in three years and have the senior guys go to bat for you, you can end up in a good spot (see guy who went to Trilantic).

If I were going to target shops for general exit ops:
1: EVR
4: Doesn't really matter after this.

Again, you can place from anywhere. There's duds in every analyst class, so marginal differences between banks matters less than individual performance. But this is how I see it.

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One of the most thorough responses I've ever read on this site.


Any opinions on the Houston offices of Greenhill, HL, SunTrust, Stephens, and PJSC?

Isn't Moelis on the Saudi Aramco IPO? It is relatively new though compared to other banks in the area.

Just trying to flesh out this thread for future monkeys who might find this info useful.


Greenhill got eaten by MS in HOU. (unless I'm unaware of some reformation, doubt it)

No idea about HL, SunTrust, Stephens or PJSC. They aren't big players, and I don't really know of any analysts on the buyside from these shops.

Pretty sure Moelis HOU team is playing India to the larger M&A group located in NYC and other international bankers in Dubai / London for Saudi Aramco. Don't know their level of involvement specifically, but Moelis still isn't that big of a player in HOU.


Gulfstar is a boutique, but not an EB. Richardson Barr is RBC, but it's a separate office (literally) from RBC Capital Markets in Houston. I've never really been able to understand why. Strictly A&D, but they have strong deal flow.


I think Barr is pretty solid. I don't think Gulfstar is going to be placing to MFs anytime soon.


Been told by an RBC banker that RBC and Richardson Barr will be moving into the same office shortly


Should have done it years ago. I wonder if they'll fully integrate the teams.


Broadly speaking...what are you currently doing that will help accurately qualify your post(s)?


Post HOU IB buyside

know people at most of these banks

just my take on it


Fair enough. Was just curious and was hoping you weren't a freshman at HCC or something.

I think your first post was accurate, especially on the BB side. I think you're missing some information the boutiques and I will write a lengthy post of my own in a bit.

To all prospective energy bankers, exit opps in energy are extremely wide-ranging. You have the blind pool capital commitment juggernauts like EnCap and NGP. You have guys who play up and down the capital structure like EIG, Magnetar and GSO. You have distressed debt/hedge fund guys who also play in the realm, like Oaktree, Fir Tree, Ares, Centerbridge, Anchorage, etc. You have guys who focus predominantly on asset level (WI) investments, you have guys who do a little of everything, you have lower MM firms popping out of the woodwork, you have the shops who focus solely on midstream such as Tailwater, Energy Spectrum, and of course you have the places that focus only on services such as SCF, CSL, Pelican. Then you have global infra firms that dabble in big midstream projects, the generalist PE firms in LA/Denver/NYC that dabble in services.

There is definitely a list of banks in Houston that will provide you with sufficient experience to move onto the buyside and do whatever it is you want to do. You will see that there is a trend of analysts from certain banks favoring a certain type of buyside firm strategy, and that's just historically how it's been. Nothing wrong with that. I will say that boutiques generally place people more "diversely", whereas you still see stuff such as the strong Barclays -> EnCap/NGP/First Reserve path.


Definitely interested in your post when you write it


Looking forward to the lengthy post +1


Any insight on how these rankings change (if at all) for post-MBA associates who are aiming to stick it out for the long haul (or at least until whatever exit opp pops up 3-4+ years down the line)?


TPH has done well on the placement front recently - they put 4 / 5 guys at KKR, someone at BX, GSO, a few at NGP and Encap. If you want to stay in energy, it's solid shop.


There should be a thread for Best SF Banks for Exit Opps as well.


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