William Blair - Climbing the Ranks?

Noticed Blair has scrambled up the league tables this year. Given their pay is top of street and already occupy a pretty well respected place among MM banks, curious to see where they go in the future. 
 

What is the opinion around here? How about in comparison to HL/Jeff/Baird/Harris Williams/ Piper? 

Comments (31)

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Nov 29, 2021 - 4:17pm

Blair analyst here. First of all, our pay is definitely not "top of street". I'd say we're above the street average, but I know that we pay less than most EBs/some MMs.

Blair's been doing well this year (as has most other firms) and we've definitely been on a roll, but I don't think our so-called "standing" will change too much. We're already one of the most respected MMs, especially in Tech, but truth is for PE placement we're not going to catch up to most BBs or EBs, and no matter how much we improve we'll still be a "top MM" like we have been (it's simply not our firm direction to "level up" from being a top MM).

It's hard to compare those firms. Jefferies doesn't even belong in the list, as they aren't really a MM. I'd say we're most comparable to Baird although Blair and Baird both have different strong groups (HC and Tech for Blair, Industrials for Baird). Piper's definitely the most unbalanced, as they have some great groups (HC, FIG, Chemicals) while I'd say their other groups are relatively weak compared to us. HW has perfected the sponsor relationship model, and they're great at doing what they do, but they're very narrow and the vast majority of their deal flow is MM sponsor sell-sides. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Nov 29, 2021 - 8:27pm

What MMs pay more than Blair? From my understanding, Blair is >= every other MM, especially given the new base salaries (at least at the analyst level)

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Nov 30, 2021 - 4:37pm

Wouldn't be surprised if Baird pays more now. I've read in the forums and database that Baird Aso1 is $200k base. Would be great if someone could confirm, though 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Nov 29, 2021 - 5:00pm

Analyst at one of the top MMs with friends at others, here's my take:

Blair is on a tear, every bank is this year but think Blair has probably grown more than most. League tables confirm that. Base comp top of street with competitive bonus (probably between BB and EB range for total comp).

Part of this is just industry tailwinds. Every MM bank has a strong industry or two (Baird industrials, Piper med tech, etc), and Blairs two are tech and healthcare. MM tech and healthcare have both absolutely gone bananas in the past ~5 years, so part of it is definitely that Blair was in the right place at the right time. They've also done a lot of hiring (from MD to analyst) to propel this growth.

I'd say that Blair has probably pulled away from the pack a bit in the top MM space- you'd be hard pressed to find someone who would take a HW, Piper, or Baird offer over Blair nowadays. Would argue Blair is the clear top MM at this point. Vs JEF/Gugg/etc, the different is Blair is happy where they are. They're privately owned and print money, have a really valuable niche, and crush the ranges they target. They don't want to do $10B deals and aren't trying to get there. They're happy as a top MM player.

As far as exits, like someone else mentioned, MF exits are hard and will always be hard, but Blair places really well at great MM and some UMM funds- again, top of MM placement, but not competitive with a BB.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Dec 1, 2021 - 2:55am

Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't they below HL & Piper on the league tables? 

Dec 3, 2021 - 11:24am

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