Big Four Corp Fin vs non-elite boutique for Corp Fin/IB (London)

williamthesnake's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,141

I wanted to ask some advice about Investment Banking career options in London.

I'm currently an audit trainee at a Big Four but want to move into IB/corporate finance. The chances of jumping direct from audit to a BB or elite boutique (Evercore, Moelis, Perella Weinberg) are not that high (based on talking to people in the industry as well as recruiters) so I'm more focused on these two more feasible options:

1) Transferring internally to the corporate finance team
2) Trying to get into a non elite boutique IB the likes of Numis, Cenkos, Canaccord Genuity, Peel Hunt, Liberum.

What I'm wondering is how these two options compare to one another? In terms of type of work, prestige, hours/culture, pay, etc. The Big Four do seem to get a fair bit of deal flow (they might not work on the deals that make the front page of the FT but they do seem to do a decent volume of mid market stuff based off of what I've seen in M&A league tables), the rest seem to be very much a mixed bag.

Comments (3)

Apr 5, 2015
FExtraordinaire:

it's not "not that high" it's fucking zero/non-existent.

what's considered "not that high" is the possibility of you switching to either CF or non-elite boutique from audit. land an offer in either one before posting here.

Wow, what's gotten in to you? I don't even know how to respond to something like that.

And I have seen people move to big IBs straight from audit but it is veeery few and far in between. On the other hand a lot of people have moved internally to CF or to a more mid tier advisory firm.

Apr 6, 2015

Probably differently from the previous poster, I spent 2 years in a Big 4 in CF before moving to a top tier IB (GS/MS) so I may have something to say here.
First, it is true. Chances from Audit to M&A in a BB in 2015 are limited/zero. Nevertheless it is easier if you are a top performer in your team to move internally. Once there, I have seen quite a few people moving from Big 4 CF or TAS to banking, also to good names including Nomura/Lazard. My case is specific, as I interned in my current team during school and firstly rejected their full time offer, so do not take moving from Big 4 to Tier 1 BB as the norm.
Anyway, my advise would be to start working on both fronts: try to move internally to CF while start position yourself for banking interview. Omce you gain some M&A experience in the CF team, you should be able to target better banks such as Harris Williams, Houlihan, Baird and Blair. They do mid market but there are stromg names with good career progression opportunities both in the M&A sector (also from a lateral recruitment perspective) and out of banking.
Last, take the ACA while in the Big 4 as this is something that HH tend to look for in people from Big 4.

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Apr 6, 2015
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