Ranking MM Firms?

Intern in Investment Banking - Generalist

How do you think about the top firms in the MM? There's a sort of top-tier everyone gives (Blair, Baird, HL, sometimes others) but how do you rank those 3, and what's the top 5-10?

Also, how do banks that are sort of MM but not really (RBC, Jefferies) fit on those lists? Ie how would you compare Blair vs RBC?

Comments (38)

Aug 27, 2019

Tier 1: Jefferies / RBC / WFS
Tier 1b: HSBC / Baird / William Blair / BMO / HL
Tier 2: Jaffray / Harris Williams
Tier 2b: RJ / Cowen / Truist (STRH) / Stifel / Nomura / BNP
Tier 3: Oppenheimer / Lincoln International / Mizuho / MUFG / Credit Agricole / Lazard MM

Edit: Firms not ranked within tiers

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  • Prospective Monkey in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions
Aug 27, 2019

You put Stifel twice

  • Prospective Monkey in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions
Aug 27, 2019

Can you add Fifth Third, Waller Helms, Simmons, GCA Advisors, DC Advisory, Hammond Hanlon Camp, Duff and Phelps, Mesirow,and Lazard MM.

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Aug 27, 2019

HSBC do anything in the US? I never see them.

  • Prospective Monkey in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions
Aug 27, 2019

Wouldnt add Nomura there, Nomura should be placed near RBC (still not sure in MM)

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Aug 27, 2019
Ebitdoggo:

Tier 1: Jefferies / RBC / WFS
Tier 1b: HSBC / Baird / William Blair / BMO / HL
Tier 2: Jaffray / Harris Williams
Tier 2b: RJ / Cowen / Truist (STRH) / Stifel / Nomura / BNP
Tier 3: Oppenheimer / Lincoln International / Mizuho / MUFG / Credit Agricole / Lazard MM

Edit: Firms not ranked within tiers

lol @ Jefferies and WFS in same tier.

Aug 27, 2019

RBC is a low BB, WF is in between MM and BB solely because of their balance sheet.

Tier 1 is Jefferies and Houlihan, Houlihan is a tier better than those listed in 1b.

Array

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  • Intern in Investment Banking - Generalist
Aug 27, 2019

You would put HL about Blair/Baird? I thought they were all very similar

Aug 27, 2019

You all need to decide whether you are defining MM as banks that do deal sizes in the middle market range or otherwise. Including "full service-like" banks such as WFS, RBC, HSBC, Nomura, BNP, Mizuho, MUFG, Credit Agricole, Societe Generale, etc. just doesn't make sense. These banks would be included as BBs IMO.

Also important to differentiate between boutiques and MM. For example, banks like Waller Helms, GCA, Hammond, Mesirow, FT Partners, Intrepid, Livingstone, Greentech, Prairie Capital, Arbor, JMP, City Capital, etc. classify themselves as boutiques.

Also, should add Stephens and probably even FT Partners as MM banks (even though I just classified it as boutique).

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Aug 31, 2019

they'd be balance sheet banks.. BBs are pretty squarely defined as the 9 names everyone knows

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Most Helpful
Aug 27, 2019

So first of all, I really hate these ranking threads, because most of the information people post is either outdated or flat-out wrong. But I wanted to present some raw data so people can interpret the results on their own. I ran a quick Bloomberg league table with these criterion:

Target Region: United States

Date Range: YTD

Transaction Type: M&A ONLY - I think this is valid because the majority of TRUE MM firms focus almost exclusively on M&A

Average Deal Value: < $1B (this is a somewhat arbitrary cutoff for what I will define as "MM")

Here are the top 10 banks ranked by total deal value (TDV: total deal value, ADV: average deal value, n: deal count):

*1. UBS: TDV = 16.5B, ADV = 749m, n = 22
2. Stifel: 15.9B, 305m, 52
3. Baird: 10.0B, 238m, 42
4. Sandler O'Neill: 8.2B, 265m, 31
5. Houlihan Lokey: 8.2B, 97m, 84
6. William Blair: 7.4B, 118m, 63
7. BMO: 6.8B, 338m, 20
8. Raymond James: 4.4B, 77m, 57
9. Cowen: 4.3B, 619m, 7
10. Valence Group: 4.0B, 669m, 6

Now, obviously UBS is not a MM; if we remove it, the next up would be Canaccord Genuity: TDV = 3.2B, ADV = 154m, n = 21.

Irrespective of order, I think the majority of the firms on this list fit the profile of a "strong MM" in the US. However, you still have a couple wildcards, namely, Valence Group and Canaccord Genuity.

To address this, I tried ranking by Deal Count, as opposed to Total Deal Value:

  1. Houlihan Lokey: TDV = 8.2B, ADV = 97m, n = 84
  2. William Blair: 7.4B, 118m, 63
  3. Raymond James: 4.4B, 77m, 57
  4. Stifel: 15.9B, 305m, 52
  5. Baird: 10.0B, 238m, 42
  6. Lincoln International: 780m, 20m, 39
  7. Piper Jaffray: 2.2B, 61m, 37
  8. Sandler O'Neill, 8.2B, 265m, 31
  9. PNC: 2.1B, 88m, 24

*10. UBS: 16.5B, 749m, 22

Once again, UBS is obviously not a MM. Also, Piper Jaffray and Sandler O'Neill are merging, so they are technically double-counted. Accordingly, the next two up on the list would be:
11. Canaccord Genuity: TDV = 3.2B, ADV = 154m, n = 21
12. KeyBanc Capital Markets: 2.2B, 104m, 21

Here are some of my key takeaways from this:

a) UBS needs to pick up the slack

b) Baird is on an absolute TEAR this year

c) Lincoln has solid deal flow, but I was greatly surprised by how small their deals are.

d) Canaccord Genuity and KeyBanc are doing better than I would have guessed.

e) The "in-between" banks (Wells Fargo, RBC, Jefferies) really are an anomaly, considering they don't appear on either of these lists.

For some added depth, here are their stats:

Wells Fargo: TDV = 60.4B, ADV = 2.1B, n = 29

*RBC: 155.5B, 4.7B, 33

Jefferies: 123.0B, 1.9B, 69

RBC's data is HEAVILY skewed by the fact that they are doing the fairness opinion on Raytheon + United Technologies, a 90B deal. If you adjust for that, RBC's stats are: TDV = 65.5B, ADV = 2.0B

As an aside, I would be greatly interested in seeing how these banks stack up when you control for the size of their workforces. Something like ADV / # of MDs would be very interesting. Some of these firms run much leaner than others, making it that much more impressive for them to crack the top 10. Additionally, there are other banks that may not have made it in the top 10, but are doing extremely well given their team sizes.

Anyway, I hope this helps shed some light on the ACTUAL data, rather than simply speculating based on word-of-mouth from reading other WSO posts.

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  • Prospective Monkey in Other
Aug 27, 2019

Would you have any thoughts on the trajectory of the merged Piper Jaffray/Sandler O'Neill firm?

  • 2nd Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Industry/Coverage
Aug 27, 2019

Considering UBS is a BB, most of its transactions would not even be in the MM range. Sure, UBS seems to be doing a decent amount of MM transactions but this isn't reflective of the firm's overall performance in deals outside of the MM range.

Aug 27, 2019
  • Tier 1: Jefferies, Blair, Baird, Piper, HL,
  • Tier 2: HW, Lincoln, BMO
  • Tier 3: Cowen, Stifel, Raymond James, Stephens

Regardless "ranking" is irrelevant its very group dependent at these shops

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Aug 27, 2019

Would you have any general thoughts on Tier 1 groups?

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Aug 27, 2019

Agree, but would put Piper down in Tier 3.

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  • Prospective Monkey in Other
Sep 12, 2019

Any reason? Or are you just meming?

Sep 9, 2019
WOMENIBERRR:

* Tier 1: Jefferies, Blair, Baird, Piper, HL,
* Tier 2: HW, Lincoln, BMO
* Tier 3: Cowen, Stifel, Raymond James, Stephens

Regardless "ranking" is irrelevant its very group dependent at these shops

Well put on the depends on the group statement.

If we had to rank them across industries, I might not even have three tiers because it is so industry dependent:

  • Tier 1: Jefferies, Blair, Baird, HL, Piper, HW
  • Tier 2: Cowen, Stifel, Raymond James, Stephens, Lincoln, BMO, Black Arch, Lazard MM
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Aug 27, 2019

What's the general consensus on Macquarie Capital?

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  • 2nd Year Associate in Corporate Development
Aug 28, 2019

"millionaire factory"

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Aug 27, 2019

The deal count totals per Bloomberg aren't remotely accurate for what it is worth. After recruiting last fall, I've seen deal count totals for a few of these firms, and they're nearly 3x the numbers posted above.

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Aug 27, 2019

Its just so group dependent that ranking them would be kind of useless.

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Funniest
Aug 27, 2019

How about you tell us which banks actually gave you an offer. Then we'll try to rank those for you.

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Aug 28, 2019

Greenhill?

Aug 28, 2019

Greenhill is still very much in the category of an EB and should not be classified as an MM bank.

Array

Aug 28, 2019

whats the difference between EB and MM ??

just google it...you're welcome

Aug 28, 2019

According to merger market, advisors sorted by 2019 sub $1b, global deal count (M&A only):

  1. Rothschild - 145 deals. disclosed value of $25.4b
  2. Houlihan - 122 deals. disclosed value of $13.3b
  3. Lincoln - 115 deals. disclosed value of $1.8b
  4. Goldman - 114 deals. disclosed value of $34.9b
  5. Lazard - 110 deals. disclosed value of $24.3b
  6. JPM - 93 deals. disclosed value of $27.4b
  7. Jefferies - 92 deals. disclosed value of $18.1b
  8. Evercore - 85 deals. disclosed value of $17.0b
  9. RayJ - 85 deals. disclosed value of $5.3b
  10. Morgan Stanley - 83 deals. disclosed value of $27.0b
  11. Barclays - 80 deals. disclosed value of $19.2b
  12. William Blair - 78 deals. disclosed value of $6.9b
  13. Citi - 77 deals. disclosed value of $23.7b
  14. Piper - 73 deals. disclosed value of $3.8b
  15. Oaklins - 73 deals. disclosed value of $1.2b
  16. Baird - 63 deals. disclosed value of $4.5b

The problem with the middle market is lack of disclosed values, so take implied average deal value with a large grain of salt.

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Sep 9, 2019
bankblankbank:

According to merger market, advisors sorted by 2019 sub $1b, global deal count (M&A only):

  1. Rothschild - 145 deals. disclosed value of $25.4b
  2. Houlihan - 122 deals. disclosed value of $13.3b
  3. Lincoln - 115 deals. disclosed value of $1.8b
  4. Goldman - 114 deals. disclosed value of $34.9b
  5. Lazard - 110 deals. disclosed value of $24.3b
  6. JPM - 93 deals. disclosed value of $27.4b
  7. Jefferies - 92 deals. disclosed value of $18.1b
  8. Evercore - 85 deals. disclosed value of $17.0b
  9. RayJ - 85 deals. disclosed value of $5.3b
  10. Morgan Stanley - 83 deals. disclosed value of $27.0b
  11. Barclays - 80 deals. disclosed value of $19.2b
  12. William Blair - 78 deals. disclosed value of $6.9b
  13. Citi - 77 deals. disclosed value of $23.7b
  14. Piper - 73 deals. disclosed value of $3.8b
  15. Oaklins - 73 deals. disclosed value of $1.2b
  16. Baird - 63 deals. disclosed value of $4.5b

The problem with the middle market is lack of disclosed values, so take implied average deal value with a large grain of salt.

LOL, look guys Oaklins is a better bank than Baird!

/saracasm

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Aug 28, 2019

God not another one of these fucking trash threads

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Aug 30, 2019

Mizuho - glad to see them

Sep 8, 2019

Where is Moelis? Don't see them on this thread

just google it...you're welcome

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  • Prospective Monkey in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions
Sep 8, 2019

Given that most of Moelis deal flow is <$1 B deals (total deal value less than Guggenheim YTD), shouldn't Moelis be considered a MM?

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Sep 12, 2019
Prospective Monkey in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions :

Given that most of Moelis deal flow is <$1 B deals (total deal value less than Guggenheim YTD), shouldn't Moelis be considered a MM?

In fairness to Moelis, I've pitched against Evercore on sub-$500 million deals. But some of the deals Moelis takes on are head-scratching.

  • Prospective Monkey in Investment Banking - Generalist
Sep 13, 2019
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  • Prospective Monkey in Investment Banking - Generalist
Sep 13, 2019
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