What are some of the underrated banks that don't get talked about?

autonomous's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 634

WSO obsesses about the BBs and same boutiques like Lazard and Moelis over and over again. For the students that miss out on the top well-known banks, what are some strong MM or boutique shops which pay close to street and have solid exit opps that don't get mentioned much?

Comments (54)

Most Helpful
Apr 17, 2019

Stifel, Stephens, BMO, tons of opportunities out there.

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Apr 19, 2019

I hope this is you trolling otherwise you really don't know what you're talking about

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Apr 22, 2019

What are you talking about. Your telling me those are bad banks?

Jul 10, 2019

All these people throwing shit at me are probably the summer interns from Stifel, Stephens, BMO. There's a reason these banks aren't highly regarded on WSO, it's because they don't have a track record of winning M&A mandates. Truth is the bulge brackets are all actually chasing business in the middle market (they're all establishing middle market groups) and have a dominant share in middle market M&A , specifically deals over $150mm. This makes it incredibly difficult for boutiques to compete. A firm like BMO will never win an M&A bake-off against GS, JPM and BAML, but will take on the small shitty deals that no other bank wants to handle. The only middle market firms that are winning big mandates (even from a middle market perspective) are the ones with very highly regarded industry bankers (e.g. Piper Jaffray restaurants). These banks you listed only survive by co-managing financing deals and given a small portion of the economics.

Apr 17, 2019

literally all MM and a significant portion of boutique pay street

Apr 17, 2019

Japanese banks (MUFG, SMBC)

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Apr 17, 2019

I would disagree. All Japanese banks are struggling and are laying off i.e. Nomura, Mizuho

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Apr 17, 2019

That's why I left those two out. MUFG and SMBC have been fairly strong and growing in the US

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Apr 19, 2019

Yike

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Apr 17, 2019

In the U.S. yes, but that is not the main focus https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-10...

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Apr 17, 2019

Stand corrected, however it would still not be a bad place to end up if you missed the boat on BB and EB recruiting

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Apr 17, 2019

Sawaya Partners, Ducera (competes with top shops for restructuring), Sandler O'Neill, SVB Leerink (strongest player in MM healthcare), and in the west maybe FT Partners or Union Square Advisors

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Apr 19, 2019

Ardea partners is a solid shop in Europe. Could throw Zaoui & Co and Robey Warshaw too.

Apr 23, 2019

Leerink is nowhere near the strongest player in MM healthcare

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Apr 23, 2019

I would agree on leerink if we're talking about biotech. Otherwise no

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Apr 23, 2019

Leerink isn't the strongest MM for healthcare, but they do clean up in Biotech. I saw them on some solid IPO's this year. Definitely a good player in that market.

Apr 17, 2019

See this list, or do a handy-dandy google search for more names!

http://equity-research.com/list-of-top-200-investm...

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Apr 18, 2019

imo william blair is easily one of the most underrated shops simply because their CHI and to some extent SF group are their main ones, and they focus primarily on the MM space. Their analysts constantly place in solid MM PE shops and I've heard of a few UMM exits as well. I'd rather take them over some of the lower BBs (UBS/DB and RBC if u consider them close to a BB).

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Apr 18, 2019

Agreed, strong recruiting presence at my school and while you probably wont get MF, and UMM is rare, they are killing it. I think they get knocked on here because they're pretty much unknown in NYC and the east coast. Their SF team is killing it (heard from alumni at other banks in the SF area)

"If you ain't first, you're last!" - GOAT

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Apr 18, 2019

Agreed, I've heard their SF practice is solid. I personally know of a few kids (not from my school) who turned down mid-tier BBs to join WB SF.

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Apr 19, 2019

Can second this comment on WB, from what my buddy says who works their culture is solid.

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Apr 18, 2019

Leerink on the pharma side

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Apr 18, 2019

Really rate TD Securities (investment banking division of Canada's largest bank by total assets, second largest by market cap, and 26th largest bank globally) for their commodities trading division.

Macquarie Group also doesn't seem to get a lot of attention on this site - hoovering up a lot of the talent from Deutsche's old commodities and FX regime, very good at financing as well as S&T.

As a side note, I interviewed once at Mitsubishi UFJ in London - was sorely disappointed. For such a sizeable firm (world's second largest bank holding company), their London presence was paltry: seemingly no firm client links whatsoever, with most of their market flow originating from cold calling (at least that was the impression I got). Am sure they're a lot more sophisticated in APAC, but think their foreign offices are very provincial.

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Apr 18, 2019

PJ Solomon are some of the nicest and smartest people I got the chance to meet during MBA recruiting. They pay street, are growing fast, and actually seem to care about their Analyst/Associate work-life balance.

I had to turn them down for my dream firm, but I would encourage anyone - especially if you aren't as concerned with PE - to give them a real look.

Plus their office is probably the nicest of any shop (55 and 6th with views of the entire park) - IMO better view than 200 Water or even 388 Greenwich (those Hudson views are hard to top).

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Apr 22, 2019

Where does Duff & Phelps M&A stand?

Apr 22, 2019

Anecdotal but have a friend who worked there and said it was a nightmare. Complete sweatshop that payed significantly below street. He lateraled to a top MM and is much happier

Apr 22, 2019

There is one bank I think is underrated:

  • Harris Williams is top-tier MM bank with what seems to be a great culture and plenty of work. 90+% of their work is sell-side M&A, and you'll hear that their MDs "go to bat" for their analysts. If you want PE you'll get placed.

And then a couple awesome banks that you won't see mentioned often on this website

  • Dyal & Co: 16 person shop started by former Goldman global M&A head. Worked on Bristol Myers Squibb-Celgene, as well as Novartis-Avexis, where they were Novartis' sole advisor. Also pretty active on some huge chemicals and industrials deals that I can't remember off the top of my head.
  • Robey Warshaw: Tiny London-based bank started by MS M&A head, UBS investment banking head, and MS Sponsors MD. Those three are the only partners, and they've hired a couple more people. 13 employees total taking up 20% of UK M&A market share means insane pay, but also an insane learning experience. Involved on Comcast-Sky, BT defense, etc.
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Apr 22, 2019

Agree on HW. I think in general a lot of the MM banks are underrated. HW, Blair as mentioned above, Baird, Houlihan, etc. are solid shops. I worked at a competitor of some of the ones mentioned above, and the people I worked with are just as capable as the people I've worked with on the Corp Dev side at BBs and EBs.

Apr 22, 2019

Since you're an MMBanker, do you mind listing more of the strong MM banks? There is limited information online once you get past the top tier MM banks like Blair, Baird, and Houlihan.

Apr 23, 2019

Plus that IB salary in Richmond aint bad. (If youre at HW)

Apr 22, 2019

Infrastructure IBD at Macquarie, by far the most underrated on this site

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Apr 22, 2019

Indeed

Apr 23, 2019

MTS Health Partners in NY is a solid shop

Apr 23, 2019

I'm going to nominate Blackarch Partners out of Charlotte. Very formidable pitch opponent in the MM with surprisingly strong PE relationships and sponsor-backed deal flow.

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Apr 23, 2019

Stifel is extremely underrated in my opinion. Their investment banking practice has grown so much with the aggressive acquisition strategy they have. Acquiring KBW, Miller Buckfire, Thomas Wiesel Partners, recently acquiring Mooreland Partners.

Not to mention that they also took over a majority of Lehman's wealth management practice and have been growing in AUM significantly in the past two years.

I would say they are the leader in the middle market.

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Apr 23, 2019

Stifel is a solid Tier 2 bank that competes well in specific industries (logistics, FIG), but it's not on the same level as the Tier 1 MMs. It recently lost some of its DCM team to Cowen, but overall has a pretty good capital markets presence in ECM and DCM. M&A is choppy and very sector-reliant.

Recently came across a Stifel book for a ~$5mm EBITDA business that would trade for 9-10x. That deal wouldn't have been taken on by any of the Tier 1 players, but likely would be possible for Tier 2s.

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Apr 24, 2019

Wedbush

Apr 24, 2019
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