Thoughts on Starting Investment Bank/M&A Advisory for my Company
Been a while since I've posted. I used to contribute a bit more, but I have been out of banking and PE for 3 years now so have less to add recently.
I'd like to get collective thoughts, for those generous enough to share, on an opportunity I have to re-enter the space.
I left banking atPE firm (great experience I loved working with those guys), went into private credit for a mega fund's credit team to reduce hours but stay in the game/get deal exposure. I then left to one of their portfolio companies, which is a tech enabled service in the M&A space, to lead business development for a large region of the country. My clients are senior folks at PE firms, M&A teams at law firms, and CEO's and my day to day is effectively a high level sales job (not much different than banking at the senior level honestly).
Without getting into too much detail, I have the option of pitching to the Board that we should start an M&A advisory practice that I will head up and grow. There is a competitive advantage with our existing core offering and they would complement one another. I have CEO and my boss's thumbs up, if I want it, but it does need board approval (and we are PE backed hence my initial involvement with the Co. so this is not a guarantee but is in line with their box).
I had run my own investment banking process historically and had to leave one of my jobs to do it, and it was a fantastic experience. But I didn't see myself continuing with it to compete with the boutiques in my 20's. My only competitive advantage then was, I knew what sucked and didn't suck about the job. And frankly you remove some of the culture issues and reduce hours (or find ways to make hours tolerable) you could make the business fun. My idea would be to leverage this Company's brand and channel access across the M&A landscape to build a new advisory business.
I'd also use our company's tech oriented culture to attract talent - WeWork office with couches / games / free beer with full work remote options, MD's help analysts if needed (ie on vacation), junior folks directly participating in deal fees and getting paid when we get paid as opposed to a bonus cycle, etc. and we build an investment bank that is fun and rewarding to work for. I envision a team where we all like the actual work of IB but only to a certain limit. Of course there will be moments of grind based on real client demands/deals, but the hope is that we are all comfortable with each other and a flat structure (where the analyst is not some bitch that gets sent work to turn around same night, but on par with me as MD but just does a different function on the deal most times). If you need to smoke some weed to break up the night and get back at it and you're actually more productive, don't need to hide it (funny/stupid example but I mention it because I knew another analyst in my day that would light up and come back to the office and grind out his best work, but feared that an MD would come back after a dinner or something and bring him into his office for a deal update and see him ripped). If you want to head out and meet some friends for a special occasion, me or someone else on the team will step up and help out. It's literally a real team as opposed to these IB's where effectively everyone is out for themselves. This is how WeWork actually built a fun culture and everyone made great money doing it (early on).
I have been out of banking for years now so it's been some time since I remember how much I hated my life at the BB. My current role today is pretty amazing - I work very few hours a week, the hours I do work are oftentimes pretty fun for my personality (golfing, dinners, drinks, coffee, office presentations, talking to folks about their active deal/specifics that we need to know, pricing the service, working with internal teams to relay client feedback on our services etc.) and I'm making pretty good money (not banking money, but $350-$450k depending on how good of a quarter/year I'm having). I set my own schedule and wake up late most days, get plenty of gym or sports time, plenty of time with my wife. But I am getting to the point where I'm not learning anything new at all in my career and becoming more and more reliant on the Company and less and less marketable to PE or IB if I needed to go back. I feel like I may be losing touch with the technicals and I'm probably too old for a top MBA program for a pivot if I needed to. This team would give me a sense of purpose in my career; but also bring me back to banking and more specifically the pain of building a team from l scratch in banking which would be a drastic change in my lifestyle.
Reason I am coming to you all for thoughts is that you are all the demographic who will have the best insights and even the type of folks we would want to hire. I would give up my easy lifestyle to go bust my ass again if it meant building a team where people come to work with a smile on their face as opposed to being effectively coasting through my career. I certainly have the ability to do it. But would be interesting to hear thoughts from folks currently in banking and me leaving the situation I'm in to effectively come back to it (albeit in a different manner).