Toronto Elite Boutique Landscape

Can someone please talk to regarding the reputation of elite boutiques in Toronto? Out of Evercore, Greenhill, Lazard, Rothschild, Moelis, Perella and Jefferies, which are the strongest in terms of deal flow and caliber of MDs? I have looked at the Canadian M&A league tables over the last couple of years, and all these so-called "elite boutiques" are languishing near the bottom. On this forum, however, I have come across past posts that glorify the Toronto presence of the above-mentioned firms. Please share some updated and informed info on the Canadian elite boutique space and which one is better positioned for the future. Hoping to hear some educated responses soon. Thanks a ton! 

Comments (18)

  • Principal in PE - LBOs
Feb 19, 2020 - 6:12pm

Ironically PJT doesn't have a local presence and executed those deals from NYC.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Feb 19, 2020 - 7:05pm

OP asked about firms that do well in Canada. I don't care where PJT executed the deal from, all that matters is that they have a decent presence in Toronto. Yes, if OP is strictly looking for opportunities that are physically in Toronto that is a different story.

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  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Feb 20, 2020 - 11:24am

The EBs with an actual presence in Toronto include Evercore, Greenhill, Lazard and Rothschild. PWP (through TPH) is only active in Calgary. PJT, Moelis, Centerview do not have a Canadian presence, but I'm sure they cover some Canadian clients out of the US

Looking at Canadian league tables for the EBs does not make sense given they are small, selectively pick their spots and are not trying to play the market share game. The boutique/independent financial advisory model is also less developed in Canada than it is in the US, but it is growing in prominence

In terms of how they compare, my personal observations from working in Toronto with friends at most of them:

  • I would say Greenhill is the largest and most active - they hired a couple former GS MDs a few years ago and have grown the team a lot (c. 10-15). They have also announced significantly more Toronto-led deals than the others EBs

  • Lazard entered Canada through its purchase of Verus Partners a few years ago. Verus was a boutique run by the former head of UBS Americas M&A and a few senior CIBC bankers. The team has grown considerably as well following the Lazard deal (~10-15), and they have also grown the MD ranks - they brought in the former head of EMEA metals & mining at CS last year. I have heard they get deal flow through their strong global network

  • Evercore is smaller (c. 5-7 bankers) and is less active in Canada. The head of Evercore Canada is the former co-head of Greenhill Canada and the former Head of GS Canada. I dont think I have seen that office announce any notable deals over the past few years. To help expand the office, they brought in a former RBC MD last year. The Evercore global platform is obviously very strong and several of the Toronto analysts have ended up transferring to NY for the A2A. Pay at the junior level is very good (they are paid USD analyst comp converted to CAD)

  • Rothschild is very small (c. 5 people) and focuses on metals & mining. The head of the office is a former lawyer. I have seen them on a couple mining deals over the past few years

In general, the EBs (and BBs) in Canada can potentially provide you with better senior banker and client exposure, more responsibility, better pay, better access to headhunters and exit opps in the US, better global office mobility, better global recognition and a tigher-knit culture. The deal flow wont be as strong as the Canadian banks, however, simply given their size and business model

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Feb 21, 2020 - 1:04pm

a couple deals for Barrick come to mind - acquisition of Acacia Mining and the Pueblo Viejo financing

The Rothschild mining team (includng the head of mining) is mainly based in the US, so im not sure how involved the Toronto office is

  • VP in IB-M&A
Jan 2, 2022 - 10:24pm

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