Honest thoughts on Guggenheim

First of all I just want to start off by saying that this post is NOT an attack on Guggenheim in any way, but rather is just an attempt for me to learn more about the firm. That being said...

Currently an AN2 at a top BB Industrials group after spending my first year in their M&A group. Throughout my time on Wall Street I've honestly never seen us go against Guggenheim on a pitch. I've seen us pitch against plenty of other BBs, most EBs, Jefferies, the in-between banks like WF and RBC, and most MMs that play in the UMM space, but have yet to see Guggenheim even once. Looking at Guggenheim's transaction list on their website, they don't seem to close that many advisory deals either, and while they have the occasional mid-cap or mega-cap deal the vast majority of their deals are solidly in the MM space. 

That being said, I see that Guggenheim is super hyped up across WSO, with many people saying that it should be considered in the same tier as mid-tier BBs and EBs. I'm not trying to deny Guggenheim's status, but I'm just confused where this sentiment across WSO comes from. Their deal flow doesn't really impress me, and from what I've their culture doesn't seem amazing either. Can anyone (preferably in the Industry and not just a prospect) shine some light on what I'm missing?

Comments (68)

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 11, 2021 - 2:22pm

Your first mistake was thinking that WSO's view means anything. Probably over 3/4 of this forum is just prospects ranking firms based on who knows what and MSing posters with actual industry experience whenever they add their two cents.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Sep 11, 2021 - 2:33pm

WSO is an echo chamber. Nothing against Guggenheim, think pay is also on point there, just my general opinion of many on this website. 

  • Summer Associate in IB-M&A
Sep 11, 2021 - 2:34pm

Guggenheim is extremely strong in HC and quite good in TMT, but there's a sizable drop-off with the other coverage groups. IMO they're not as well-rounded across industries as most other larger EBs/BBs/whatever JEF is.

Also, most people on WSO are prospects obsessed with exit opps, so they tend to look at banks not by their actual deal flow and reputation as an IB on the street, but by analysts' exits, and in regards to that I think the hierarchy of exits has definitely become relatively "flatter" aside from the very top firms of Evercore/GS/MS/etc, and the exits between mid-tier and lower-tier BBs and EBs as well as "hard to classify" firms like Jeff and Gugg have become a lot less partitioned over the years.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Sep 13, 2021 - 10:18pm

Proof that they are 'quite good' in TMT? I'm at an EB Tech group and would disagree

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Sep 11, 2021 - 3:39pm

My honest take: Search 2015 - 2019 posts on WSO regarding Guggenheim and they were regarded as MM (not even top). They brought in MDs and did better during Covid like many other banks. However none of these changes justify the hype they received on WSO.

On a related note, I received tons of HH emails during last two years for positions there and I never replied. I saw many new people from nowhere joined that firm. Just like other places, on WSO people say and appraise what makes them feel good and vice versa. I know many teams (most BB) are great places and not alike what depicted on this forum lol.

WSO was very helpful to me, but now I don't take it that serious for anything IB related.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 11, 2021 - 6:20pm

Have friends there who love the culture/people they work with, pay is close to top of Street and I believe I saw chart on here a couple weeks ago that listed Gugg as #13 in deal value for first half of 2021. Seems pretty good to me.  

Sep 11, 2021 - 6:34pm
NewIndustryHorizon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Coolest interesting corp dev exit I've seen (at least in my view) was from Gugg from a senior associate there. Please don't ask for details lol. No clue if this gal/guy uses WSO

  • VP in IB - Cov
Sep 11, 2021 - 9:18pm

I was at a MM Industrials platform and also pitched against all the BBs and EBs, but never once saw Guggenheim.   They are just not strong in industrials.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Sep 11, 2021 - 11:10pm

The exits for the industrials group have been really solid. Talked to some analysts in that group going into their 2nd year and they said they haven't had to pitch yet. They said it is their fastest growing group. Like previous posts said they also have killed in the TMT space especially media and HC. Exits are great in those groups too. 

  • VP in IB - Gen
Sep 12, 2021 - 2:35am

It's a great shop in terms of culture and pay. But my understanding is only really punches at EB level for TMT and Healthcare

  • Prospect in IB - Restr
Sep 12, 2021 - 12:38pm

Just a curious prospect, but isn't Gugg top of the line for certain HC verticals and for Structured Finance?

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 12, 2021 - 1:32pm

Yeah, but at the end of the day, those are only certain verticals. I think at the end of the day most BBs/EBs/JEF are a lot more well-rounded across industries.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 12, 2021 - 3:49pm

Lmao their TMT group is solid but nowhere close to the best among EBs. PJT and Moelis are head and shoulders above other EBs in Media and Telecom with Lazard/PWP/Gugg/CVP among the "above average" crowd. Evercore and Lazard dominate Tech, as well as Q if you count them as an EB.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Sep 12, 2021 - 8:30pm

How would you guys rank Gugg's healthcare groups compare to other EB/BBs?

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 12, 2021 - 8:58pm

Overall the group is relatively strong but certainly depends on the vertical.

Medtech: Probably one of the strongest groups on the street along with PWP.

Biopharma & BioTech: Average. CVP runs large cap biopharma, with Evercore/GS/MS/JPM/Lazard firmly battling for second and every other bank fighting over the scraps.

Services: Solid but far from a standout. GS and Barclays are the best for large and mid-cap, and Jefferies and Moelis are the kings of the MM space.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 12, 2021 - 9:14pm

MM is killing it in Chicago. Gone from 5 bankers to 50 in two years, and they're building out in Atlanta too.  

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Sep 12, 2021 - 9:58pm

Anyone know of what the exits have been for their industrials group? Most of these comments have no backing so just want to get a real picture of what the firm/group is actually like

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 12, 2021 - 10:07pm

The comments above covered Industrials pretty well. In terms of deal flow, Guggenheim's two strongest groups by far are Healthcare and TMT, with all other groups sort of meh, and that reflects in terms of buyside placement. MF will be very tough from any group, but the analysts who do manage to place into MF tend to overwhelmingly come from the HC group. UMM and MM is doable from any group, but once again analysts from HC and TMT tend to have better placement.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Sep 12, 2021 - 11:05pm

Anyone have views on their Structured Products group? I'm looking to move into a group like this, currently in a coverage group

Would appreciate any details on how it meshes with their advisory business, and any good resources to get up to speed on structured products more generally

  • Trader in HF - RelVal
Sep 13, 2021 - 1:10am

Guggenheim has a good esoteric structured products group - they have a strong presence in niche structureds like WBS, container, non-prime auto. They have done some innovative new issuances like the DGO securitization which created an ABS from a collateral pool of low-decline PDP appalachia gas wells; which was a great win for the company and for the bondholders. 

Their team mainly has a very strong syndicate presence and while they do use coverage bankers to build out innovative product (e.g. a consumer banker for a restaurant securitization); it is mainly Guggenheim's expertise in SPG that wins the deal, as opposed to any kind of IB coverage expertise. It's not hard to understand most businesses; but it takes good thought to find a way to securitize them intelligently, and Gugg excels at this. So to answer your question, they really exist as their own unit and also have a good S&T presence in these products. 

Ever since Tom Humphrey left (not that he did much), Guggenheim is more of a set of fiefdoms than a collective investment bank. This is not a knock on Gugg; many broker-dealers fall into this category and there is no shame in having a few strong business lines dominate the conversation. They lost most of their corporate credit traders 1 - 2 years ago mainly to rivals like Stifel; which ended up being fine within the business model. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 13, 2021 - 8:06pm

thoughts on the restructuring group? seems like they're on the come-up. won washington prime group company-side which is like the top mandate of the year so far. would put them in my top 5 for restructuring groups.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 13, 2021 - 8:26pm

exits this past class to carlyle, ares, lone star, cvc, tiger cub and some reputable long/shorts

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 14, 2021 - 8:12pm

A friend in that group says it's not one of the better Power groups on the street and deal flow isn't amazing but it is growing.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Sep 14, 2021 - 8:16pm

Every group is a top group on the street with league table manipulation. I don't think we've ever done a quals page on a pitch where we aren't number 1-3 in the tables, even if we're not...The info on WSO is way worse though because 90% of it is flat out wrong, 5% is unsubstantiated hearsay and the other 5% is decent. League tables you find in decks are misleading but at least there are sometimes footnotes lol.

Sep 15, 2021 - 10:56am
ledagl8888, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you're in a top group I would say it is comparable to UBS, DB and JEF - JEF is #6 market share in IB this year so save your monkey shit. Recruiting from all of these 3 is similar, you are going to get looks if you are good

  • VP in IB - Gen
Sep 22, 2021 - 1:11pm

Wut?  If you're in a top Guggenheim group it's for sure better than UBS/DB.  And same goes for JEF - their deal sizes may be similar but the culture is definitely better in general at Gugg and they don't have a CEO who spends half his day on insta trolling other banks for WLB in a shocking display of myopic irony.

Most Helpful
  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Sep 22, 2021 - 10:56am

There's a lot of false information being spread here so I thought I'd chime in. No one is denying Jefferies' momentum but I think it's inaccurate to say that Guggenheim's top groups are just on the same level as Jefferies.

Let's start with TMT. Guggenheim's Head of IB is the former head of Media at JPM. Guggenheim has worked on Disney / Fox ($70B), IBM / Red Hat ($34B), Discovery / Scripps ($15B), Verizon / Vodafone ($130B), Nexstar / Tribune ($5B), and Verizon / Yahoo ($5B) just to name a few.

For Healthcare, they're on every Pfizer deal and have also worked on Abbot / St. Jude ($25B), KKR / Envision ($10B), Bristol Myers / MyoKardia ($13B), Jazz / GW ($7B), etc.

Restructuring - Do you guys know who Jim Millstein is? Do some research on the Guggenheim / Millstein acquisition and then you can also do some research on the deals that Guggenheim has worked on since the acquisition. It really isn't that hard.

I don't know too much about their Industrials group but have seen a few exits to HIG. I believe they were on Middleby / Welbilt ($4B).

I don't have much context into how their recently opened Middle Market group is affecting their deal flow and smaller deals, but I'm sure it is making an impact. Separately, they list all of their transactions on their website while a lot of other firms just list their biggest transactions (e.g., PJT, Jefferies, etc.)

Also, "EB" is a strange term that isn't really used outside of this forum but you'll see Moelis and Lazard on several middle market deals as well. The firms in these "EB" conversations tend to have more spotty coverage than BBs (e.g., how much is PJT doing in Consumer?). These firms also tend to pay above street.

For all the prospects out there (and supposedly an AN2), just know that you can research this data instead of listening to other uneducated college students who comment with 0 backing.

Just my two cents. Hope it's helpful and doesn't get too much MS from the Jefferies employees.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 22, 2021 - 1:07pm

Always good to hear some actual facts regarding the firms people talk about on this forum.   

Sep 25, 2021 - 12:57am
sdfsdfsdfssdsf, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I don't know anything about the firm but how would you know who you went against on a pitch? Unless you win the mandate and see all the materials. Isn't your sample size a bit small?

Nov 5, 2021 - 3:30pm
durants_baldspot, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Apr 13, 2022 - 3:07pm
cackalack, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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