Top groups at BOFA London

My question is which are the top groups at Bank of America in London, and if you had the chance to choose which one would you take

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Most Helpful
Oct 6, 2019 - 3:29pm

Just left, so have quite good knowledge.
Generally, there is not one group such as Sponsors at CS or PUI at Barclays (in NY) that will be significantly better than the overall bank reputation.
Nonetheless, there are a few teams that are better than others.

  • Generally, M&A is the best team if you don't have a specific preference for a niche like FIG or credit right from the outset. In the last few years, exits have included Apollo, TPG, Providence, Advent, Apax etc. They are increasingly doing most to all of the (more technical) modelling on their deals, specifically for deals in more general industries and almost always on mergers
  • NRG is quite strong in its space but be aware that many funds run specific processes for NRG people/teams. Therefore, you will be very boxed in. To my knowledge usually, top 3 in EMEA NRG M&A though and exits to quite strong NRG funds/teams. Global Head sits in London.
  • LevFin is pretty strong although note that it does not have the same standing as in NY where they run the market with JPM. In London, CS, JPM, and also DB have better deal flow, but given BAML's global leadership in the area, it is a strong team with excellent exits in the credit space (CVC last year) and occasional strong exits for normal PE (e.g. Warburg a few years ago)
  • Industrials (or Multis) is also quite good and has strong client relationships across the board.
    Good exits in the past (not always MF/UMM level) due to high deal flow overall (BC last year). One of the top-earners in the bank. From senior associate onwards, people are already quite specialised so make sure you figure that out since they cover everything from Chemicals and Materials, to Business Services, Infrastructure, Building Materials and much more.
  • FIG is suprisingly one of the top teams. Very strong deal flow and second-biggest FIG revenue for a team in London (only second to JPM, but #1 if you adjust for team size). Get strong looks by headhunters if you have a beneficial language (German, French, Nordics). Generally, people often specialise quite early on, and after a few banks/insurance deals you will focus on this field. Strong Fintech and Payments franchise.
  • UK is very good although, admittedly, I don't know too much about the team. Sent people to quite a few MFs in the past. Very strong deal flow, especially in the P2P sphere. Geoff Iles is probably one if not the best UK banker based on his takeover code expertise.
  • HC is a bit of a mixed bag. They are quite small in comparison to other banks (notably JPM). While they have very strong relationships with some corporates like Novartis, their volume mainly comes from mega deals (often in the Germanic region) and less continuous deal flow. Might be poised for strong growth though as they are working on a lot of Biotech IPOs atm. Probably best culture of any team at the bank. Team head is the loveliest woman in banking.

  • C&R actually has a strong franchise globally but team has a very intense and formatting-heavy work culture, while being more fun outside of work. But has had some good exits in the past.

  • TMT is historically only a Media & Telco team but has been getting a lot better recently.
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Oct 6, 2019 - 3:57pm

Totally forgot Sponsors. BAML obviously has very strong sponsor deal flow and the amount of execution being done by the team is getting higher.
Nonetheless, not on the same level as in NY as a lot of time is spent on non-deal related administrative work. The team is also one of if not the smallest team at the firm.

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Oct 12, 2019 - 10:11am

Agree with this. Industrials and UK had some pretty heroic exits recently

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Oct 20, 2019 - 6:32pm
whatever123:

Just left, so have quite good knowledge.
Generally, there is not one group such as Sponsors at CS or PUI at Barclays (in NY) that will be significantly better than the overall bank reputation.
Nonetheless, there are a few teams that are better than others.
  • Generally, M&A is the best team if you don't have a specific preference for a niche like O&G or credit right from the outset. In the last few years, exits have included Apollo, TPG, Providence, Advent, Apax etc. They are increasingly doing most to all of the (more technical) modelling on their deals, specifically for deals in more general industries and almost always on mergers
  • The NRG is also very strong in its space but be aware that many funds run specific processes for NRG people/teams. Therefore, you will be very boxed in. To my knowledge usually, top 3 in EMEA NRG M&A though and exits to quite strong NRG funds/teams. Global Head sits in NY.
  • The LevFin is also very good although note that it does not have the same standing as in NY where they run the market with JPM. In London, CS, JPM, and also DB have better deal flow, but given BAML's global leadership in the area, it is a strong team with excellent exits in the credit space (CVC last year) and occasional strong exits for normal PE (e.g. Warburg a few years ago)
  • Industrials (or Multis) is also quite good and has strong client relationships across the board.
    Good exits in the past (not always MF/UMM level) due to high deal flow overall (BC last year). One of the top-earners in the bank. From senior associate onwards, people are already quite specialised so make sure you figure that out since they cover everything from Chemicals and Materials, to Business Services, Infrastructure, Building Materials and much more.
  • FIG is suprisingly one of the top teams. Very strong deal flow and second-biggest FIG revenue for a team in London (only second to JPM, but #1 if you adjust for team size). Get strong looks by headhunters if you have a beneficial language (German, French, Nordics). Generally, people often specialise quite early on, and after a few banks/insurance deals you will focus on this field. Strong Fintech and Payments franchise.
  • UK is also very good although, admittedly, I don't know too much about the team. Sent people to quite a few MFs in the past. Very strong deal flow, especially in the P2P sphere. Geoff Iles is probably one if not the best UK banker based on his takeover code expertise.
  • HC is a bit of a mixed bag. They are quite small in comparison to other banks (notably JPM/MS). While they have very strong relationships with some corporates like Novartis, their volume mainly comes from mega deals (often in the Germanic region) and less continuous deal flow. Might be poised for strong growth though as they are working on a lot of Biotech IPOs atm. Probably best culture of any team at the bank. Team head is the loveliest woman in banking.

C&R actually has a strong franchise globally but team has a very intense and bs heavy culture, also quite fun though. But has had some good exits in the past.
TMT is historically only a Media & Telco team but has been getting a lot better recently.


Thanks for this. Any thoughts on REGL?
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 24, 2020 - 6:04am

For incoming SAs that will be working remotely, how do you recommend getting to know the groups and asking for more work from the UK team, for example?

May 24, 2020 - 1:12pm

It certainly isn't (probably one of the better ones in the bracket after GS/MS/JPM).

My main point was that the firm is pretty consistent across its industry groups with most being in line with its overall M&A standing (4th-ish in EMEA), therefore not having one standout industry coverage team but all being pretty good. Therefore, M&A is a solid bet since deal flow will always be good.

In light of some recent exits (Warburg and Centerbridge), FIG might deserve a bump from the time of the initial comment though and could be perceived as the standout industry coverage team.

Array
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 27, 2020 - 5:26am

Am there - can give a few words about my view on the groups, and internal perception.
Broadly speaking, saw the comment about BofA not being #1 somewhere, well, in EMEA they have performed really well recently (3/4-ish in M&A this year), and very important: headcount in most of the teams is below other US peers (this is changing though - well, before the current unprecedented times).

[M&A Group]
First of all, can second the controversial comments on the M&A group.

Pending on whom sourced the deal, and the deal captain is (a M&A VP may more trust his analyst with the model, whilst an industry group VP his own analyst) the M&A group may indeed have the hands on the model (it's really situation specific and more rare than frequent that the M&A team has the hands on the model from what I've seen), but besides that they will also almost exclusively run the heavy administrative work, even when senior analyst or junior associate (newsletter for client, buyer universe, call notes, buyer log). They also do pitching as some of their seniors are specialised in some sub-sectors.
Overall, my recommendation for you to pick M&A would be if you don't really know what sector you want to do, and want to get a broad exposure to various industries (at a junior level); yet, it would be wrong to go in there and think that your modelling experience will be above other groups, or that you're more targeted by headhunters. The main perk I would see here is to be able to see more sectors (with the risk of being staffed on stuff you have clearly less interest in which can drag on as deals may need time to complete / take a lot of your capacity), and the main downside is to have to do more administrative tasks than industry A&As. Eventually, you can twist both how you want when interviewing for PE, but so do people from industry groups.

[INDUSTRY/Product GROUPS]

Industry
- HC: solid deal flow, amongst the best cultures if not the best although a little UK-ish, pull big deals, less smaller deals, not known to be THE team with regular nice exits (maybe also because the team is smaller in terms of headcount) but the culture clearly compensates
- Industrials/Multis: known for being one of the harder working teams with a very diverse and laid-back culture, all the A&As I know in that team are on at least one or two deals (having the hand on their models), strong verticals across the board with amongst others heavy hitters in chemicals, automotive and business services. One of the top revenue making teams, still growing (further juniors and new MDs). Very well represented amongst the BofA -> PE exits
- TMT: recent additions in the tech space, historically a little bit Frenchy although it's changing (they still have a TMT dealmaker based in Paris), completed solid deals (the JustEat for instance), lots of M&T though, hold hands on their models, nice recent exits (EQT) although less regular
- Energy: very solid deal-flow, very big team in terms of headcount, very solid culture, seem to have great working hours management as they do deals yet are not those who are constantly seen around late at night, haven't noticed lots of plain vanilla exits
- C&R: solid deal flow, juniors get pooled quite fast, small headcount but closely-bounded culture, yet second the comments here that it can be though. Not crazy exit-opps
- FIG: one of the best FIG teams on the street, biggest headcount in the bank. Can second the comment here that juniors get specialised pretty fast (sector like banking or insurance, geographic coverage, etc.). Though hours but very international and great culture. Pulls in a lot of deals, and has excellent exit-opps (also plain vanilla PE gigs)
- UK: has had though hours, seniors are trying to change that, have had excellent deal-flow recently (and have it regularly), and very solid exit-opps (even more when considering that most of their A&As are Brits with no European language so tougher for them to get solid PE gigs, yet they did it)

Product:
- Sponsors: team is really killing it, super strong seniors, all of their A&As are on a lot of deals but hours can be though and lots of work can be digging through PE websites. Little headcount. Regular PE exits
- Levfin: also killing it , strong deal flow and lots of exits to credit/debt funds (less PE)

Eventually, if you were to narrow down a list of top groups for deal-flow and exit-opps, I would say M&A, FIG, Industrials and UK (although people in TMT do also get looks from head hunters). More product specific, if you're interested in the debt space, you can't go wrong with LevFin.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
May 27, 2020 - 6:22am
Analyst 1 in IB-M&A:

very important:** headcount in most of the teams is below other US peers** (this is changing though - well, before the current unprecedented times).

firstly solid post and from people I know who also work there, this seems to be general consensus.

Could you explain your point on headcount btw; i didn't really understand what you meant by lower headcount compared to US peers - do you mean lower than teams in BAML US office or other US banks in london?

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 27, 2020 - 10:29am

Very insightful and sounds similar to what I have heard from people who have interned at BAML before!

Interesting to hear how the work on an M&A deal can be split between teams, but I am curious to know how it is split when say, there is an M&A deal for a UK company? What role does the UK team play in this?

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 27, 2020 - 11:20am

Thanks!

As the UK team is more of a geographic coverage team, as much as the Paris or Frankfurt team, it will really depend on which senior holds the relationship and the available capacity of the VPs and A&As (modelling work and process can be split based on seniority within the deal team, ignoring the specific industry team or whatever - the approach being that everyone should be able to run a high-quality LBO, merger model or whatever).

Two examples,
- The asset is an asset in the TMT space for instance but the UK M&A MD holds the entire relationship, it is highly likely that the execution will be driven mainly by the UK M&A juniors (model and process), and maybe (should there be an issue around capacity) someone available from the TMT team could be staffed on it
- The asset is a lets say Industrials asset, relationship is held by an Industrials MD, the opposite will happen, with maybe either someone from the UK team and M&A team jumping in for helping out, and the heavy amount of work done by Industrials people.

All-in-all for geographic specific assets (here UK but could be Frankfurt or any other country coverage office as well) it will always be a blend between country team and industry coverage plus potentially product team (if it's a PE deal LevFin could intervene for instance, if there's no VP with M&A experience available, someone from M&A can jump in). The blend being influenced by which senior holds the relationship, the seniors being always rather pushy to have juniors from their teams on the deals they source.

Hope this is clear, and helps; take-away is that it is a mix between who has the relationship, but also junior capacity, as there is no clear rule for who does what.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 27, 2020 - 10:53am

As an incoming summer intern at BofA London, this is super helpful. Thank you.

I have a couple of teams in mind that I think I would like to work with. Obviously, I'm keeping a pretty open mind going into this, but how do recommend I position myself to do more work for X team? Also, is headcount by team known already? That would be useful to know when scouting out teams.

Many thanks.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 27, 2020 - 11:39am

Hi, no worries.

For the positioning part: your staffer for the summer will ask you about your personal preferences. You are right to already think about it, as it will be key and you will have some advance by committing early on to a few teams / not wasting time willing to try every team.

You should submit him/her (try keep it to maximum 3 and rather a coherent set)
- a mix including teams which always have some headcount due to their size (for instance FIG as stated above is the biggest team, M&A, Energy, Industrials and TMT are also amongst the bigger teams)
- a mix of more and less demanded teams (M&A, Industrials, TMT being among the more sought after, REGAL which is more niche for instance less)
- and a mix where you can proof prior interest / give some decent rationale (if you have it, otherwise not a big issue but definitely good to have) through either internships or personal activities (if you have interned in an O&G company for instance it's easier to push for staffings with the Energy group, whether it be you when asking your staffer or your staffer when submitting your request to the team). To reassure your should you have none of that: that's only in the beginning though, if it becomes clear that you're good, you will be able to ask for staffings with the team you like despite you not having been able to demonstrate a particular interest before

For the headcount question that's something teams do not communicate openly, but as a rule of thumb already big teams will generally have more spots so be attentive to that when they are presentations and keep in mind the stated above!

Good luck with your summer internship, and keep us posted in the end how it went!

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 27, 2020 - 11:38am

Can you also please talk about REGL, NatRes and other groups not mentioned?

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