Can you tell me about Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ)?

Subscribe

I was checking out some alumni profiles and many of the top dogs (MDs at BBs, at mega/large PE funds...etc) were all ex-DLJ bankers. Can any of the older monkeys on here tell me more about the firm? It seems like one of those old, legendary firms on the street. Produced lots of influential players, so it seems (e.g. Ken Moelis, David Einhorn).

Comments (47)

 
Best Response
Oct 12, 2012 - 12:10pm

OP, first off, I'd say to do the research yourself, but I doubt you're capable of doing that if you're asking us. Then again, I really don't know how many people here can actually talk about DLJ. I mean christ, how hard is it to Google this yourself.

That said, what do you want to know about DLJ?

It was originally founded by William Donaldson, Dan Luffkin and Richard Jenrette. They found it as a "Research First" shop and were known through the history of DLJ as being one of the top Research Shops on the street. That's how they made their money. They were the Mike Mayo's of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. While the firm was trying to make its way through the turmoil of the 70s, Richard Jenrette took over running the firm in 73 and ran the firm. As an aside, Jenrette really was an interesting figure and if you are into the restoration of historic homes I would highly recommend checking out his book Adventures With Old Houses. I thought it was really fascinating and better than his biography.

As their stock grew through research (which was a huge commodity during the 80s and 90s versus the bullshit you got everywhere else on the street), they were able to expand into a number of huge areas. They acquired the bulk of Drexel Burnham Lambert's High Yield bond team in the late 80s as Drexel went under, giving them a huge advantage in the High Yield trading and underwriting space. If anyone has read The Predator's Ball, which, by the way, I suggest you do OP, then they would know in the end of the book, it discussed the slow dissolution of DBL. DBL's LA Office would turn into DLJ LA, where Ken Moelis would get his start. DLJ LA was precursor to UBS LA - however it was known as a sweatshop and every single DLJ High Yield deal went through their LA office. After the sale of DLJ to Credit Suisse First Boston, most of the DLJ LA office would jump to UBS before Ken Moelis would then leave and found his own ship.

On the non-Research side of things, DLJ also had a very strong Private Equity arm. DLJ Merchant Banking, Investment Partners, Real Estate Capital Partners, and CFIG are the last vestiges of the DLJ name in use. Merchant Banking, much like High Yield, produced a number of big names and players in the PE space. Two spinoffs from DLJ Merchant Banking were Diamond Castle Holdings and Avista Capital, plus who knows how many former DLJ bankers are god knows where.

DLJ was also very ahead of the curve when it came to technology, having had one of the first online brokerage portals for their clients. Their platform was way ahead of it's time in 1996 and would later eventually be acquired by E-Trade. The other thing about DLJ is that they were far and away one of the biggest believers in back office technology and support. If anyone here has heard of Pershing LLC, which is now owned by the Bank of New York, Pershing was originally a small independent clearing firm that was acquired by DLJ and become their back office clearing solution. It was in-house and they did everything. In 2003, Pershing was sold to Bank of New York as part of Credit Suisse First Boston's settlement in the NYAG suit against the big banks for the Tech Bubble Scandal. Pershing acts as the clearing house for a number of firms including the Private Banks of Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank in the US.

As far as their alumni - they are all over the street. It doesn't take much to find a connection to DLJ and most people can play 6 Degrees of Bacon in their own career with a DLJ Banker, Trader, etc. I'm sure every banker here has a DLJ number. I know mine's 1 because I worked with a number of former DLJ employees. It's a small world in finance, so I wouldn't be shocked if you have worked with a few without realizing it. The WSJ did a nice profile of a few former DLJ employees which I'd check out.

 
Oct 12, 2012 - 12:22pm

Frieds:
OP, first off, I'd say to do the research yourself, but I doubt you're capable of doing that if you're asking us. Then again, I really don't know how many people here can actually talk about DLJ. I mean christ, how hard is it to Google this yourself.

That said, what do you want to know about DLJ?

It was originally founded by William Donaldson, Dan Luffkin and Richard Jenrette. They found it as a "Research First" shop and were known through the history of DLJ as being one of the top Research Shops on the street. That's how they made their money. They were the Mike Mayo's of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. While the firm was trying to make its way through the turmoil of the 70s, Richard Jenrette took over running the firm in 73 and ran the firm. As an aside, Jenrette really was an interesting figure and if you are into the restoration of historic homes I would highly recommend checking out his book Adventures With Old Houses. I thought it was really fascinating and better than his biography.

As their stock grew through research (which was a huge commodity during the 80s and 90s versus the bullshit you got everywhere else on the street), they were able to expand into a number of huge areas. They acquired the bulk of Drexel Burnham Lambert's High Yield bond team in the late 80s as Drexel went under, giving them a huge advantage in the High Yield trading and underwriting space. If anyone has read The Predator's Ball, which, by the way, I suggest you do OP, then they would know in the end of the book, it discussed the slow dissolution of DBL. DBL's LA Office would turn into DLJ LA, where Ken Moelis would get his start. DLJ LA was precursor to UBS LA - however it was known as a sweatshop and every single DLJ High Yield deal went through their LA office. After the sale of DLJ to Credit Suisse First Boston, most of the DLJ LA office would jump to UBS before Ken Moelis would then leave and found his own ship.

On the non-Research side of things, DLJ also had a very strong Private Equity arm. DLJ Merchant Banking, Investment Partners, Real Estate Capital Partners, and CFIG are the last vestiges of the DLJ name in use. Merchant Banking, much like High Yield, produced a number of big names and players in the PE space. Two spinoffs from DLJ Merchant Banking were Diamond Castle Holdings and Avista Capital, plus who knows how many former DLJ bankers are god knows where.

DLJ was also very ahead of the curve when it came to technology, having had one of the first online brokerage portals for their clients. Their platform was way ahead of it's time in 1996 and would later eventually be acquired by E-Trade. The other thing about DLJ is that they were far and away one of the biggest believers in back office technology and support. If anyone here has heard of Pershing LLC, which is now owned by the Bank of New York, Pershing was originally a small independent clearing firm that was acquired by DLJ and become their back office clearing solution. It was in-house and they did everything. In 2003, Pershing was sold to Bank of New York as part of Credit Suisse First Boston's settlement in the NYAG suit against the big banks for the Tech Bubble Scandal. Pershing acts as the clearing house for a number of firms including the Private Banks of Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank in the US.

As far as their alumni - they are all over the street. It doesn't take much to find a connection to DLJ and most people can play 6 Degrees of Bacon in their own career with a DLJ Banker, Trader, etc. I'm sure every banker here has a DLJ number. I know mine's 1 because I worked with a number of former DLJ employees. It's a small world in finance, so I wouldn't be shocked if you have worked with a few without realizing it. The WSJ did a nice profile of a few former DLJ employees which I'd check out.


wow, how do you know so much about DLJ? that's impressive. can you do it for other banks and random questions too?
"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
 
Oct 12, 2012 - 12:33pm

Frieds:
OP, first off, I'd say to do the research yourself, but I doubt you're capable of doing that if you're asking us. Then again, I really don't know how many people here can actually talk about DLJ. I mean christ, how hard is it to Google this yourself.

..............obviously I researched a bit by myself, but I wanted to hear people's opinions on this firm. Google & Wikipedia can only reveal so much.

 
Oct 12, 2012 - 12:38pm

Frieds:
It was originally founded by William Donaldson, Dan Luffkin and Richard Jenrette....As far as their alumni - they are all over the street. It doesn't take much to find a connection to DLJ and most people can play 6 Degrees of Bacon in their own career with a DLJ Banker, Trader, etc. I'm sure every banker here has a DLJ number. I know mine's 1 because I worked with a number of former DLJ employees. It's a small world in finance, so I wouldn't be shocked if you have worked with a few without realizing it. ...

This^^
Great post Freids. I have worked with various ex-DLJ and agree with your comments.
OP, if you want to know about DLJ extensive info is easily available on the web.

Some additional info:

Interesting interview: http://www.hbs.edu/entrepreneurs/pdf/williamdonaldson.pdf

(Sale to CSFB, also mention of Axa's controlling stake)
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=89427&page=1

Some DLJ Alumni:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donaldson,Lufkin%26_Jenrette

 
Oct 13, 2012 - 2:02am

Frieds:
OP, first off, I'd say to do the research yourself, but I doubt you're capable of doing that if you're asking us. Then again, I really don't know how many people here can actually talk about DLJ. I mean christ, how hard is it to Google this yourself.

Oreos:

wow, how do you know so much about DLJ? that's impressive. can you do it for other banks and random questions too?

did you not get the clue?

 
Oct 13, 2012 - 2:05am

OMS:
Frieds:
OP, first off, I'd say to do the research yourself, but I doubt you're capable of doing that if you're asking us. Then again, I really don't know how many people here can actually talk about DLJ. I mean christ, how hard is it to Google this yourself.

Oreos:

wow, how do you know so much about DLJ? that's impressive. can you do it for other banks and random questions too?

did you not get the clue?

Oreos:
sorry dude, i was just being sarcastic - i assumed you'd just googled it (obviously didn't read it all). in that case, well done, good effort

did you not get the clue?

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
 
Apr 16, 2013 - 7:29pm

DLJ Staffing memo (Originally Posted: 04/26/2007)

Hey, do any of you have the DLJ staffing memo that said people were expected to work 120 hours a week and it broke down their day and weekend? I used to have it, but I think I have lost it and I want to show it to a friend. It used to be on Vault, but I can't find it anymore

 
Oct 12, 2012 - 12:53pm

Oreos:
wow, how do you know so much about DLJ? that's impressive. can you do it for other banks and random questions too?

God Damnit Oreos, I need to now write an adendum post since you quoted me before I could edit in the info about the Equitable and the sale to CSFB.

To answer your question though, my first job on Wall Street came through someone who used to work at DLJ. In preparing for my interview, I looked up the firm's research and I got onto a tangent about DLJ, so I started to read the history of the firm. In my interview, my interviewer asked me if I had any questions, so I asked about their background, and they brought up DLJ, so I peppered the interviewer with questions about DLJ and we spent a half hour talking about the firm. It's kind of funny actually, because I ended up taking a class in the fall semester of my Junior year on restoration of classical homes and one of the books on the require reading list was Dick Jenrette's book. The professor had no idea whether the book would be good or not but knew of Jenrette's work and thought it would be very interesting for a discussion point during the second half of the course. Needless to say, I also picked up his biography and learned a lot through his biography. The rest is just commonly available histories. As to being able to do that for other banks and random questions, I can do that for some of the banks, but not all of them. I mean, I have a keen interest in the history of a number of Wall Street firms that are now dead and buried.

Bruce Wayne:
Frieds:
OP, first off, I'd say to do the research yourself, but I doubt you're capable of doing that if you're asking us. Then again, I really don't know how many people here can actually talk about DLJ. I mean christ, how hard is it to Google this yourself.

..............obviously I researched a bit by myself, but I wanted to hear people's opinions on this firm. Google & Wikipedia can only reveal so much.

I would highly disagree with that. Even I could find the basic stuff and extrapolate if I needed to. Most of the stuff I discussed is easily found. It really doesn't strike me that you did the due diligence.

hungaroe:
Frieds:
It was originally founded by William Donaldson, Dan Luffkin and Richard Jenrette....As far as their alumni - they are all over the street. It doesn't take much to find a connection to DLJ and most people can play 6 Degrees of Bacon in their own career with a DLJ Banker, Trader, etc. I'm sure every banker here has a DLJ number. I know mine's 1 because I worked with a number of former DLJ employees. It's a small world in finance, so I wouldn't be shocked if you have worked with a few without realizing it. ...

This^^
Great post Frieds. I have worked with various ex-DLJ and agree with your comments.
OP, if you want to know about DLJ extensive info is easily available on the web.

Fixed it for ya. And yeah, that really is the truth. For a firm of 11,300, you really don't know where a DLJ banker will pop up and who they know or how well connected they are. It really is a small world, and DLJ definitely played its part.

 
Oct 12, 2012 - 12:57pm

Frieds:
Oreos:
wow, how do you know so much about DLJ? that's impressive. can you do it for other banks and random questions too?

God Damnit Oreos, I need to now write an adendum post since you quoted me before I could edit in the info about the Equitable and the sale to CSFB.

To answer your question though, my first job on Wall Street came through someone who used to work at DLJ. In preparing for my interview, I looked up the firm's research and I got onto a tangent about DLJ, so I started to read the history of the firm. In my interview, my interviewer asked me if I had any questions, so I asked about their background, and they brought up DLJ, so I peppered the interviewer with questions about DLJ and we spent a half hour talking about the firm. It's kind of funny actually, because I ended up taking a class in the fall semester of my Junior year on restoration of classical homes and one of the books on the require reading list was Dick Jenrette's book. The professor had no idea whether the book would be good or not but knew of Jenrette's work and thought it would be very interesting for a discussion point during the second half of the course. Needless to say, I also picked up his biography and learned a lot through his biography. The rest is just commonly available histories. As to being able to do that for other banks and random questions, I can do that for some of the banks, but not all of them. I mean, I have a keen interest in the history of a number of Wall Street firms that are now dead and buried.

.


sorry dude, i was just being sarcastic - i assumed you'd just googled it (obviously didn't read it all). in that case, well done, good effort
"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
 
Oct 12, 2012 - 1:10pm

I personally know 3 former DLJ bankers- all INCREDIBLY successful (think MD before age of 40, HBS/GSB, PE Principals/Partners, etc). And if you do some digging you'll also find former DLJ bankers doing a lot of the same

They had a culture of ultra aggressive bankers who were some of the smartest on the street. I know that they were well paid but worked hard.

^ based on some of my own personal research and what former DLJ Bankers told me themselves

Float like a butterfly, sting like the bee.
 
Apr 16, 2013 - 7:45pm

DLJ Too Busy Staffing Memo (Originally Posted: 07/10/2013)

I recently was forwarded this by a friend. I know it's been posted about before, but I don't think anyone shared a copy of the original document. Thought you guys would appreciate it.

So many bigshots started off at DLJ, it blows that they got folded up into Credit Suisse. Reminds you how many of the players back then don't even exist as standalone names today.

 
Oct 12, 2012 - 1:18pm

TheBlueCheese:
I personally know 3 former DLJ bankers- all INCREDIBLY successful (think MD before age of 40, HBS/GSB, PE Principals/Partners, etc). And if you do some digging you'll also find former DLJ bankers doing a lot of the same

They had a culture of ultra aggressive bankers who were some of the smartest on the street. I know that they were well paid but worked hard.

^ based on some of my own personal research and what former DLJ Bankers told me themselves

Pretty much. Rock Stars, really. They were high flying and did really well. DLJ was the Middle Markets shop to be at in the 1980s and 1990s. Their research group, PE Group and High Yield Groups were part of the reason they were overvalued at a purchase price 11.5 Billion - they brought in serious revenue across so many areas of the firm and Credit Suisse thought they could leverage that by purchasing DLJ from The Equitable in 1999.

 
Apr 16, 2013 - 7:47pm

DLJ (Originally Posted: 02/08/2015)

Never seen a firm pump out alumni like DLJ. Is there a comparable firm today that is currently breeding the next kings of Wall Street?

Some notable DLJer's:

Stephen Schwarzman - Chairman, Blackstone
Tony James - President, Blackstone
David Einhorn - Founder, Greenlight Capital
Ken Moelis - Founder, Moelis & Company
Hal Ritch - Founder, Sagent Advisors
Paul Singer - Founder, Elliot Management
Safra Catz - CEO, Oracle

 
Apr 16, 2013 - 7:49pm

Industry went through so many changes... Firms like that are pretty much non-existent any more.

Today's top places to be are GS, MS, EBs.

However, top HFs offer best learning platform and excitement in comparison standard analyst stints imho.
Obviously, hard to break into those but I feel that that is the place to be. Think Elliott, Citadel, Pershing, etc.

Special mention to super-elite boutiques on the rise such as PJT, Zaoui, etc.

I'm not talking about glory paths and exit opps though... Many firms offer that if you can tailor your story well.

 
Apr 16, 2013 - 7:51pm

For DLJ, don't forget GSO

Not sure if there's a way to really answer your question, but yes, DLJ alumni have gone on to build some great firms

Alumni from other banks have done as well - off top of my head / I am sure there are others

GS: Anchorage, TPG credit, BDT, Vista Equity Partners

MS: Lindsay Goldberg, Qatalyst, Greenhill, PJT (TBD), Metalmark

 
Oct 12, 2012 - 2:34pm

-Started a few Yale undergrads still in their 20s
-Although an originally research-oriented shop, managed to build out a top-tier investment bank in 10-20 years.
-Known as a sweatshop and analysts (and associates, based on the Monkey Business book) consistently got crushed
-Picked up Drexel Burnham Lambert's guys/platform after Milken/DBL's collapse (and became very strong in high-yield as a result)
-Has a lot of alums in and dominate the PE world with guys like Tony James at Blackstone and their levfin strength
-Overpaid a lot of their top bankers (see note below)
-When Credit Suisse bought DLJ, they eventually ended up buying an empty-shell since a lot of the bankers left (guys like Moelis) after the transaction and the decrease in pay under the new Swiss owners

 
Oct 15, 2017 - 9:45pm

I wore my green DLJ sweat shirt often up until just 2 years ago when someone picked it up off my chair.

Technology was fairly front foot with the electronic trading group we (me, Joe Sommer and a host of IT guys) created being adopted by CS and becoming advanced execution services. Before FIX, I had been working as a consultant to DLJ on NASDAQ market maker trading technology trying to keep the MMs from being gamed by small order executions (SOEs) bandits. with a server dedicated to each MM's security list and tools of the trade on top of the NASDAQ workstation software. It was a challenging time.

NASDAQ and NYSE saw DLJ top 5 in turnover many days of the week the year prior to the CS buyout. Contrary to comments above, CS bought us for the institutional client list; CS had been a high profile failure in the US insto business for years before the DLJ purchase.

It was during the CS merger that I moved from New York to Hong Kong to run electronic trading for Asia from the equity sales trading desk. Budgie and Mongo had been out here for a few years with DLJ sales trading already and were well known characters throughout Asia. Sadly, the desk made both guys redundant post CS merger.

Of course, there were notable CSers.

Nick Andrews was head of ECM Asia at the merged DLJ/CS operation in Hong Kong. I would later work with him again at JPMorgan in Hong Kong in 2003.

Peter Hilton was Asia Research Product Manager in Hong Kong. I worked at RBS with him in 2010.

For the most part, DLJers did not fit in at CS. DLJ was collegiate and incredibly supportive throughout, and across teams. CS was a political washing machine in comparison. Still, I managed to have a good time at both shops for several years.

I would like to go back and work with the folks at DLJ, they were a great group of people.

Hank
Start Discussion

Popular Content See all

Received my PWP rejection email!
+93IBby Prospective Monkey in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Prospect in IB-M&A
Biggest Regret in Undergrad
+26IBby Prospective Monkey in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Prospect in IB-M&A
Is Evercore the next Bulge Bracket bank?
+24IBby Intern in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Intern in IB-M&A
Is Liontree the next bulge bracket bank?
+17IBby 1st Year Analyst in Sales & Trading - Equities">Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Virtual Summer Interns - which banks sent you WFH gear?
+16IBby Intern in Investment Banking - Industry/Coverage">Intern in IB - Ind
Meal plan in IB
+10IBby 1st Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Industry/Coverage">Analyst 1 in IB - Ind

Total Avg Compensation

October 2020 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (17) $704
  • Vice President (49) $326
  • Associates (264) $228
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (36) $168
  • 2nd Year Analyst (147) $159
  • Intern/Summer Associate (136) $141
  • 1st Year Analyst (580) $130
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (556) $82

Leaderboard See all

1
LonLonMilk's picture
LonLonMilk
98.4
2
Jamoldo's picture
Jamoldo
98.3
3
Secyh62's picture
Secyh62
98.2
4
CompBanker's picture
CompBanker
97.8
5
redever's picture
redever
97.7
6
Edifice's picture
Edifice
97.6
7
Addinator's picture
Addinator
97.6
8
bolo up's picture
bolo up
97.5
9
NuckFuts's picture
NuckFuts
97.5
10
frgna's picture
frgna
97.5