Is Meridian That Bad?

Obviously, there are stigmas about certain prominent industry players, especially in regards to brokerage shops. I get the prestige associated with certain firms, but for those with legitimate experience/knowledge re: working at or with Meridian: could an analyst there get similar (or even better) exposure than an HFF/Eastdil?

NYC is its own animal and I think the distinction of some of these boutique shops within the market is unique. I just can't make up my mind on whether the questionable reputations of certain people/firms is legit.

This forum is filled with many entrepreneurial-thinking young people who seem to excel at understanding the true value of learning. For someone who is pretty certain they eventually want to make the leap to REPE in either an AM or Acquisitions capacity, would a place like Meridian provide legit exit opps (if it were an active/intelligent team)?

Comments (43)

Feb 6, 2019

I would say yes it could. At the end of the day experience is what counts. So if you find a team that truly gets you a good experience and strong contacts then you should be fine. That being said firms like Eastdil and HFF have more of an institutional scope than Meridian. Meaning you will get more exposure to institutional clients and bigger more complex deals. Do you see Boston Properties or Tishman Speyer using Meridian to sell a property or raise debt? Usually no, they would go with Eastdil, HFF, CBRE (Stacom Team), or CW (Spies and Harmon Team). Rubbing shoulders with this type of client usually helps a lot when it comes to exit ops.

Feb 6, 2019

This makes sense. Although I guess what I'm getting at is I don't necessarily feel as if the more esteemed brokerages you mentioned are truly working on a larger volume of the institutional-type deals in comparison to the boutiques. Could just be wishful thinking though.

Feb 6, 2019

Wouldn't be shocked if a few guys at some boutiques do some cool deals as well. But there is no doubt the majority go to the ones I listed. Just because you work on MM deals doesn't mean you can't move into PE though. I know a kid that worked at Marcus and Millichap who got a gig at a decent fund so anything is possible.

Feb 6, 2019

Not a NYC guy but interact with a lot of folks from there on both the principal and brokerage side. I would agree with most of what you said. You're going to have a higher likelihood of getting max exposure to big clients at the Eastdil, HFF, CB's of the world, but you can still carve out a good career coming from the other shop if you get on a good team. Your odds of doing that are just smaller in general than going with one of the big shops, since the big shops usually poach top talent from the boutiques at one point or the other. This happens throughout the country though, not just NYC.

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Feb 6, 2019

Meridian works on some pretty large debt deals. I would say it depends on where you want to end up. Obviously the megafunds will be poaching the Eastdil/CBREs but no reason why you can't get in with a good shop from Meridian.

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Feb 6, 2019

I hope this thread has solid answers. I posted a few weeks ago about them and an opportunity there, but not sure if it's worth it to leave a CBRE/JLL shop for them.

Most Helpful
Feb 6, 2019

Be forewarned that the following reply is not politically correct.

I don't know anyone at Meridian who isn't religious. If you're religious (judging by your name, you might be) then it could be a good place, especially if you want to transition to a New York City family office. But, if you aren't religious, I wouldn't work there.

I'm friends with a few groups that do deals with Meridian and they candidly told me that Meridian recruits young Jewish kids from no-name schools who want to hustle and then puts them through the cold calling program to see who sticks. If you're not of the tribe, I wouldn't expect a fair shake.

Meridian does do a LOT of deals, so you will see a lot of transaction volume. Furthermore, they control relationships with a handful of lenders that put out a lot of money every year. It's an influential shop. For you, it comes down to whether or not you're a good fit for their firm.

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Feb 6, 2019
Non-PC Broker:

Be forewarned that the following reply is not politically correct.

Fitting, given your user name

Non-PC Broker:

I don't know anyone at Meridian who isn't religious. If you're religious (judging by your name, you might be) then it could be a good place, especially if you want to transition to a New York City family office. But, if you aren't religious, I wouldn't work there.

I'm friends with a few groups that do deals with Meridian and they candidly told me that Meridian recruits young Jewish kids from no-name schools who want to hustle and then puts them through the cold calling program to see who sticks. If you're not of the tribe, I wouldn't expect a fair shake.

I can attest to knowing one college buddy who isn't Jewish and isn't outwardly christian who has been successful there. He said he was told something like if he works Jewish holidays or the Jewish sabbath he's liable to be fired, but forced downtime isn't the worst thing. He very much has a hustler personality though, so perhaps he's just a good fit, religion aside.

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Feb 6, 2019

Thanks for both replies. @CRE - I think this makes sense. I am Jewish (reformed, not religious whatsoever), but my username is just a Seinfeld reference....c'mon now.

I don't see myself at the type of family office that @Non-PC Broker is referring to, but I also do happen to know that the teams I'd be interested in do a lot of deals with sponsors that don't fit that mold at all. Again, I do think there is a stigma and I'm sure there are firms that choose not to work with them given their "culture", but I think the truth is that there are plenty of legit brokers there who, religious or not, know the business and deal with a wide array of lenders and sponsors.

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Feb 6, 2019

It's still possible to not be very religious/ "officially" Jewish and work at a firm like that. People are people and will respect hard work and high ethics. Just my $0.02

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Feb 6, 2019

I just spent some time on LinkedIn and, for some reason, all of my connections there are religious but it looks like the company has diversified in the past 2 years. So, at this point, it's probably team-dependent.

The teams I know of are doing deals nationally. Mostly apartment deals in the $10MM - $100MM range, but as you know they do almost everything, including some really solid MM transactions in NYC. For you, it's all about getting into the right team that will put you in front of the network that you ultimately want to work for.

One sponsor I'm friends with told me that Meridian recently crushed HFF and CBRE in a $30MM+ debt placement for him on a Class A apartment deal; it wasn't even close on rate and terms. If you get on the right team you're going to be getting deals done with really competent folks. As mentioned, if I were you, I'd be hyper focused on team and fit with the end goal of moving to the buyside in mind.

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Feb 6, 2019

Hugely helpful- thanks man. Agree with that thought process 100%.

As an aside, I'm at HFF and we just lost a big construction deal to them on 14th St. very team dependent, as you said.

Feb 8, 2019

Can you imagine if a christian firm did the same thing? imagine the shit show

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Feb 8, 2019
patsfan947:

Can you imagine if a christian firm did the same thing? imagine the shit show

I can actually name a couple

Feb 9, 2019
patsfan947:

Can you imagine if a christian firm did the same thing? imagine the shit show

Drop the persecution complex

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Feb 6, 2019
Non-PC Broker:

the following reply is not politically correct

That was satisfying.

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Feb 6, 2019

James Famularo went there after Eastern Consolidated. Don't know him personally but his LI says he's part of a Lebanese business group, so that's probably a good indicator one doesn't have to be Jewish. Though, he could be religious nonetheless.

Feb 7, 2019

There are Jews in Lebanon..

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Feb 7, 2019
NYYCRE:

There are Jews in Lebanon..

Exactly. Most of the population is Muslim or Christian, but they do have a significant Jewish population there.

Feb 7, 2019

Really went off the rails here.

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Feb 7, 2019

I don't hear great things if you are not an originator and not Jewish.

But, I have known some brokers, and really nice guys who worked there.

What someone above said is correct they get a basement full of kids from the Yeshiva and cold call and win spots based on attrition. These are the guys that take deals off the market by if not outright lying then mispricing rates.

Feb 7, 2019

Guess this is the stigma I am afraid of. But as @Non-PC Broker said above, I honestly think this is becoming a thing of the past. They have begun to attain legit talent, both from UG and from competitors.

Feb 7, 2019

To be honest, it's the case for a majority of the smaller brokerage shops in NYC.

Are you trying to get out of HFF or was this just a general question? Based upon your previous posts it seems like you're trying to leave. If so, I definitely wouldn't leave an HFF at the Analyst level to jump to Meridian.

Funniest
Feb 7, 2019

Welp. Fuck me then I guess.

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Feb 8, 2019

If you are at HFF go get your comp revised if you haven't tried already. They are having trouble retaining qualified experienced senior analysts that can keep pace with the production.

Feb 9, 2019

which market?

Feb 11, 2019

This more applies to secondary markets - too much talent in NY, LA, CHI, DAL, SF, Boston, DC, etc...

Feb 7, 2019

Just wanted to throw this out there in order to ensure some of less experienced people understand the magnitude and scale of Meridian:

New Yorks Top Commercial Loan Brokerages 2017 (Per TheRealDeal)
Rank 1: Meridian Capital Group - $15B
Rank 2: Eastdil Secured - $5.8B
Rank 3: Newmark Knight Frank - $3.4B

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Feb 7, 2019

Meridian is top notch in NY but nationally per the 2017 MBA's rankings the top debt brokerages are HFF, Eastdil and CBRE with HFF doing more than twice the volume of Meridian. According to the MBA's rankings on a national scale Meridian is in the same tier as Walker & Dunlop, JLL, Berkadia. But that is not a knock on Meridian though, its a top notch firm. NY is a weird in the sense that you often have botiques like HKS ranking in the top 10 brokerages in the city.

Feb 9, 2019

sheesh.

Feb 7, 2019

I have a lot of respect for meridian as a firm, they do a lot of business and work on big and small deals, local investors and institutional. The knock on Metidian is they hire way too many brokers and while there are some very good brokers, there are some very shitty brokers that are desperate, lazy, lying, incompetent assholes. They should probably be more selective in hiring, but they did like $40bn last year so what do I know...

And yes, HFF and Eastdil do a lot of the big sexy institutional deals, but that world isn't all it's cracked up to be. The sr broker gets the lion share of the pie, and the reaminder of the fee is pretty thin whe it's split at least 5 ways, as it often is on these large deals. Not to mention everyone's competing on price in that world and you have to cut your fee to very low levels to win the business.

As someone that's worked in the institutional side and mid market side, I'll tell you the latter is much better. I'd much rather work with a client that has skin in the game than some w-2 acquisitions guy with no equity at tishman or Hines

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Feb 7, 2019

+1. This is fucking spot on.

Even WITHIN a place at HFF, it's mind boggling to me how much more attainable success is for the brokers that focus on the MM. In addition to what you said about skin in the game, the fees are also substantially higher pound for pound.

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Feb 8, 2019

Can you comment on the market for fees? As in, a MM $20 million financing, assuming we have the same middle market definition, what would the fee be?

Feb 8, 2019

Fees I've seen are 75-100bps, and always 100bps for construction. For institutional deals it is more like 50bps-75bps, or flat fees on giant deals.

Feb 8, 2019

Debt fees have compressed my dude. I've seen big institutional deals go down to 30bps for straight forward permanent loans.

Feb 11, 2019

ouch, but i mean good for principals..if they use brokers. I've been on the principal side for 4-years so havent had to worry about paying a broker commission.

Feb 8, 2019

I would agree with this. They should be more selective.

Despite that they, are still killing it and have great relationships with top institutional lenders such as JP, GS, Capital One, etc

Feb 8, 2019

Sweet spot in brokerage IMO is the upper middle market space. You can charge middle market or slightly cheaper point fees but deal with legit sponsors and legit capital sources. We were getting like 20-30 bids on the $15-25mm workforce housing properties we brought to market - shit was insane. After structuring in incentive fees we were getting fees in the $350-450K range for selling $20mm apartment complexes.

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Feb 8, 2019

For loans of $20MM and below, I typically see at least 50 bps, even for straightforward agency deals. If the client is grinding you down to 30 bps, you need to ask yourself if it's someone you want to work for.....

Feb 9, 2019

if you are charging 30bps you are devaluing yourself as a broker

Feb 10, 2019
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Feb 11, 2019
Feb 10, 2019