Team Moves in Investment Banking

FIJIBull's picture
Rank: Baboon | 102

Hey monkeys, I came across It's The Season For Team Moves in Investment Banks by "Toby Browning" today. The author talks about investment banks hiring a whole team from another bank and his personal experience.

It's a ticklish subject to talk about because team moves are a grey area in legal terms. There's no such thing as indentured servitude in modern capital markets: anyone can change employers for any reason that they like. But while you're working for one employer, you generally owe that employer some duties of diligence and service, and one of those duties is that you shouldn't be inducing your fellow employees to resign and go somewhere else. Not only would that be a breach of contract, but there would potentially be a liability for the new employer for enticing you to breach your contract. This means that every team move needs to keep enough legal pretense that it's simply a series of five or six unrelated individual moves. And it makes the organization of the whole thing entertainingly cloak-and-dagger.

Given that an individual departure can already be an awkward and stressful situation, a departure of the whole team can send the whole department in turmoil. Personally, I would follow the team given that's the people I spent most of my time; however, I would still feel guilty for breaking the loyalty oath.

What do you think about this? Would you follow the team or stay with the firm?

Comments (11)

Jan 8, 2019

This is going to sound kind of mercenary, but I think you need to determine this based on where you stand to benefit the most. Maybe the deal flow will leave with the team and you need to go with it. Or maybe the team leaving allows you to move up much quicker (assuming that there is still deal flow to be had by staying).

To your point about loyalty, is your loyalty stronger to the team which is leaving (who presumably have brought you in and developed your career) or to the broader organization? For me, I think my loyalty would be to the close knit team that I work with everyday and make me more inclined to go with the team.

    • 1
Jan 8, 2019

@petetong I agree with you. It's not other employees or even C-suite who work with you day and night, but the team. So if they are leaving, I will go with them... but would you actually lead the whole team to leave? Someone has to have an idea and balls to start the process.

Jan 8, 2019

Hmm interesting. I was coming at it from the perspective of a team member being asked to follow the team. If you are a team leader deciding whether to lead the team away that could be quite challenging to decide, weighing the credibility, platform and opportunities you have at an existing bank vs. another. Not sure I can give you a credible answer on what I would do in this situation. Some teams would also be strong enough to go out on their own (instead of another bank).

Most Helpful
Jan 8, 2019

Lol at "loyalty oath." No bank is loyal to their employees - as soon as you're not good enough you're gone.

    • 8
Jan 8, 2019

well, I mean the employment contract haha I would be curious to hear more stories about the whole team leaving.

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Jan 9, 2019

Seriously, fuck loyalty to a firm. Learned it myself the hard way.

Interesting read though, thanks for posting.

    • 2
Jan 8, 2019

Given that pretty much everyone would follow the team, I will change the question - would you actually be brave enough to lead the whole team? How does one even come up with an idea like that - I am not going to try to convince only a couple of employees, I am going for the whole team?

Jan 10, 2019

It's not that hard.

  1. Be Director/MD
  2. Have good reputation on the street for sourcing deals.
  3. Approached by partner/MD from another firm.
  4. Get offered $$ to move + guaranteed bonus or perks.
  5. Convince team to move for $$.
  6. Entire team/majority of team follow.
  7. Profit.
    • 2
Jan 10, 2019

Whether you choose to leave / lead the leave should have nothing to do with the loyalty, especially if you are in investment banking. Do you seriously think that banks keep their employees to honor loyalty, even for a little bit? You should be making a choice purely based on the merit and career trajectory, not because you feel morally obligated to fight for Jamie Dimon. Stop enslaving yourself. It's embarrassing.

    • 1
Jan 8, 2019