IB in Los Angeles - banks, groups, culture?

Hoping to learn more about investment banks in Los Angeles. My current firm's only california presence is in San Francisco. I've done a bit of research and think I understand which banks are in LA, but it's hard to tell what groups are out there. Also hoping to know a little more about the culture of each shop. Thanks!

Comments (50)

Mar 26, 2019

There was a thread for Moelis LA vs Moelis NY a couple of days back and it had some insights. I'm from the eastcoast and the only two groups I know of is ->

1) Barclays LA - supposed to have the best culture in LA & maybe even SF, analysts place surprisingly well

2) Moelis LA - Supposed to have sick exits. Used to have a pretty rough culture but it's supposed to be improving? No idea

I'll tag some of the LA/westcoast bankers - @Synergy_or_Syzygy , @labanker , @West Coast rainmaker , @LAtoSF (don't know any others)

Edit -> Below post summed it incredibly well

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Most Helpful
Mar 26, 2019

Thanks, the landscape seems to change a bit every year. The exec summary is that all the LA groups are fairly strong due to the fact you need a strong MD to be able to pull in business and support an office here. That being said each bank has a different focus and culture, so recruiting here can be tough before you get to know the landscape and do lots of informationals at each bank. I won't get into "best bank" because I work here and it's subjective. If you want to do Sponsors work you have 2 (or maybe 3 with MS) fantastic options. If you want to do sell-side M&A there are also excellent options. Here's a summary of the last LA thread with my current take:

Los Angeles Investment Banking Landscape v_2019

Elite Boutiques
* Moelis - Large office pseudo-HQ, exposure to lots of different things, Moelis rep, deal flow and exits. Culture appears to be improving (through hiring more people) although still you will work the hardest here.
* PWP - growing fast, great team here with a lot of smart people who jumped from BAML LA. People seem happy
* Lazard - Very strong A&D but also has Consumer and west coast coverage
* Centerview - Media apparently although don't know much

BB groups
* Morgan Stanley - I think the title of largest BB goes here. Mixture of a lot of things, Gaming, Consumer, M&A, etc. Seems to be expanding team with more Sponsors stuff but wouldn't call it a full-fledged Sponsors group (not at all like Barc/CS which can be 70%+ Sponsors work)
* Bank of America Securities - kind of like MS but a more tight-knit office
* GS - West coast coverage which focuses on media & entertainment and consumer retail
* JPM - Small, regional coverage and M&A
* Citi - metals and mining global HQ, smaller office, located in Downtown LA (DTLA)
* RBC - Just started, hard to say what's going on with a prominent MD departure but over long term I would expect them to grow LA office quite a bit so may be "getting in on the ground floor"

Financial Sponsors (FSG) + Coverage BB
* Barclays - FSG + Consumer cross-staffed with emphasis on Sponsors; (also has a separate small Gaming/Lodging group)
* Credit Suisse - FSG + Gaming/Lodging cross-staffed, larger office than Barclays but practically mirror images of each other

MM + groups
* Houlihan - HQ office, largest LA banking office. RX is a separate group and great reputation. Corporate Finance will be in a specific group e.g. aerospace and defense, healthcare, etc and more middle-market
* Wells Fargo - Regional coverage and MM investment banking, formerly had Sponsors group
* Rothschild - West Coast Coverage for sure, mix of industries
* Lincoln International - Sell-side M&A with focus on Financial Sponsors sell sides; located in DTLA
* Macquarie - Consumer, Gaming, and Leisure (think they also have Metals and Mining?)
* Jefferies - I know they have a few senior people here but not sure about Analysts/Associates
* Piper Jaffray - office in El Segundo, but may not have juniors according to @NuclearPenguins
* Deloitte Corporate Finance - middle market team with coverage in tech/consumer

Common places for West Coast target students to do a sophomore internship

EDIT: Alphabetically organized the boutiques list. Please let me know if there is a better way to categorize the list:

  • Arrowroot Advisors / Arrowroot Capital- in Santa Monica
  • Atar Capital - PE
  • B. Riley & Co.
  • Balmoral Funds - PE
  • Cappello Global - sell-side M&A and capital raises, started by a USC alum, in Santa Monica
  • Cascadia Capital - DTLA, opened within last two years
  • Colony Capital - actually REPE but common for USC/UCLA to intern there sophomore year and then transition to IB
  • CREO | Montminy & Co
  • Crest Point - Search Fund
  • Crimson Leaf Capital - PE
  • DA Davidson
  • Diamond Capital Advisors - in Century City
  • Drake Star Partners
  • Duff & Phelps - Aerospace, Consumer, Healthcare, and RX (Chanin Capital)
  • Focalpoint Partners - in Westwood
  • Genz & Associates - M&A advisory
  • Harvey & Company - PE research
  • Imperial Capital - one of the larger / more well known boutiques. Sell-side and RX
  • Intrepid - purchased by MUFG; lower MM sell side group with a fair amount of sponsor-related sale mandates
  • KAL Capital - Aerospace spinout of Salem Partners
  • Livingstone Partners - mid-market, mergers & acquisitions, and debt advisory firm
  • Ocean Park Advisors
  • Park Lane
  • Prototype Capital - VC
  • Provident Healthcare Partners - boutique in Beverly Hills
  • Reynolds Advisory Partners
  • Roth Capital
  • Sage Advisors - Consumer boutique.
  • Salem Partners
  • SGVC - VC
  • Stillmark Co - VC
  • Stout
  • Many others... tell me what I'm missing / correct me and earn a SB!
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Mar 26, 2019


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Mar 26, 2019

Which banks are strongest in Biotech out there? Figure there would be some good demand for biotech teams in the bay area. Don't think you touched on healthcare specifically.

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Mar 26, 2019

I'd add Macquarie (gaming) as well as Wells Fargo (regional coverage).

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Mar 28, 2019

Livingstone Partners got an office in LA which works hand in hand with their Chicago office.

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Mar 28, 2019

What banks would you say has a notable technology or TMT group?

Apr 1, 2019

I'd say the Piper one doesn't really count. Don't think there are any analysts there (at least there weren't any when I was in IB).

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Apr 1, 2019

Wow, what a great list. Thank you for this.

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Apr 1, 2019

Intrepid is also based in LA... decent lower MM sell side group with a fair amount of sponsor-related sale mandates

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Apr 2, 2019

Deloitte Corporate Finance in LA? They have a middle market team with coverage in tech/consumer

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Apr 2, 2019

Does anyone know which banks specialize in or well known for Healthcare IT / Healthcare Services?


Apr 7, 2019

FocalPoint Partners is a decently well-known boutique in that area. Objective Capital Partners is another, but probably not worth looking into.

Mar 27, 2019

Can anyone speak to the kinds of exits one could expect at these banks? As far as I understand, the strongest exits aren't exactly aligned with the traditional rankings one would expect from, say, the New York offices often spoken about on this forum.


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Apr 1, 2019

Bump! Curious on how they differ from NY groups as well

Apr 1, 2019

I know that analyst exit ops are very strong for the sponsors/lev fin groups out there. Place into just about any west coast PE firm.

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Mar 31, 2019

Duff & Phelps has an office in century city. They do aerospace, consumer, healthcare, and RX (Chanin Capital).

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Apr 1, 2019

FYI -- Guggenheim's consumer group in Santa Monica was shut down a year or two ago. Might want to strike it from your list.

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Apr 1, 2019

Thanks, updated! Too much surfing perhaps.

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Apr 1, 2019

Do west coast bankers go surfing instead of Golfing with C-Level execs?

Apr 1, 2019

I would add:

Sage Advisors - Consumer boutique.
KAL Capital - Aerospace spinout of Salem Partners
B. Riley & Co.
DA Davidson
Roth Capital

These are all fairly big. Analysts class of >1 (besides KAL)

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Apr 1, 2019


Apr 1, 2019

I'd also add Cascadia Capital (DTLA, opened up within the last two years)

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Apr 5, 2019

Strongest bank in real estate related group (lodging or gaming too)?

Apr 5, 2019

MS / CS / Barcap, probably in order of team size. Not sure what other banks in LA have this function.

Apr 5, 2019

I've heard that Macquarie has a really strong gaming group.

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Apr 5, 2019

Best exit opps definitely from Wells Fargo. They're the only one of the above banks advising on the largest, blue-chip M&A deals with West Coast conglomerates. Their powerful brand name alone wins them deal mandates. Analysts here can expect to place with the most elite and selective PE firms such as Carlyle, KKR, Blackstone, etc.

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Apr 5, 2019

Are you sure about this? Don't know much about LA but I've never heard of Wells being strong anywhere on the WC. Maybe NY LevFin analysts place well but otherwise, I'm pretty sure it isn't great.

Apr 6, 2019

He's trolling

Apr 12, 2019

Does anyone know which LA banks have the best work life balance (for the industry of course)? Where will you actually see Saturdays and enjoy the LA lifestyle?
Moelis and GS are notoriously sweatshops there, but beyond that, there's just a lot of conjecture and outdated posts.

Apr 15, 2019


Apr 15, 2019

You'll probably only get that level of work-life balance at one of the small boutiques mentioned above (e.g., Cappello, Cascadia, Arrowroot).

May 14, 2019

Anyone have info on guggenheim's structured finance group in Santa Monica? Reputation?

Aug 20, 2019

Can anyone speak to the Rx groups in LA?

Aug 21, 2019

Dominated by HL obviously. Moelis also works on increasingly more RX situations. Not sure about others.

Oct 6, 2019

Innovation Capital can be added, focuses on gaming

Oct 17, 2019

Anyone have an opinion on FocalPoint? The firm seems to be growing, have recently opened up a NY and a Shanghai office

Oct 18, 2019
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Oct 21, 2019