By all accounts, it’s not easy being a vice president (VP) in an investment banking division (IBD). Goldman partner Alison Mass says the VP years were the worst of her career, “definitely the most challenging”. VPs have to manage down and manage up and worry about never ever making MD. Steve Bannon was a VP in M&A at Goldman, until he had a supposed epiphany and ran away to do his own thing.
If you’re a VP in M&A and you’re having a challenging time and you don’t want to be like Bannon, you might be casting about for another role model. In this case, you could always alight upon Owen Price, a former Morgan Stanley VP who just became a senior investor relations manager at Cybg Plc, the holding company that owns Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank in the UK. Owen spent 10 years in banking, at Morgan Stanley (two years), Deutsche (four years), Collins Stewart and Numis. At Morgan Stanley alone he worked on $100bn of M&A transactions. Now he’s off to help discuss what’s driving Cybg’s stock price.
Owen declined to comment for this article, but he’s not the first or the last person from a bank to move into investor relations. Normally though, IR people have an equity research background – like Will Draper, the ex-telecoms researcher who went off to become head of investor relations at BT.
One former investment banker who moved into investor relations, but declined to be identified, says plenty of other IBD professionals want to do the same. “People keep asking me how I did it,” he says. “The answer is that it wasn’t easy – there aren’t many good investor relations jobs and I had to look very seriously for over six months.” He advises against using headhunters, who typically prefer IR professionals who already now the business. – You’re better off contacting investor relations teams yourself: “I was lucky enough to find someone who was looking for an ambitious recruit and was willing to give me a chance.”