In June, Moelis & Co celebrated its 10-year anniversary, and a lot has changed for the independent investment bank in the ensuing decade. That first year, it hired three students who started as analysts after they graduated. Now Moelis makes more than 100 graduate hires every year, although the odds of landing one of those IB analyst roles has shrunk since the volume of applications has increased significantly.
“We opened doors in June 2007, and we immediately began on-campus recruiting in September – initially we only had a small audience show up to hear our pitch,” says Michele Miyakawa, the head of human capital management at Moelis. “We knew we had to have the recruitment initiatives started and have the brand on college campuses nationally as soon as possible.
“When we first went on campus we hired three people – now we hire more than 100 entry-level bankers annually from undergrad and graduate schools as analysts and associates,” she says. “Now we take a very broad approach – we go to 30-to-40 undergraduate schools – and that’s the biggest shift in recruitment from the ’90s when everyone on Wall Street came from one of 10 schools. We get thousands of applications, but even so, it’s getting harder to compete for top talent on campuses, so retention and development of our entry-level bankers is a priority.”
Moelis hires investment bankers in the following product areas: mergers and acquisitions, recapitalization and restructuring, capital markets, financial institutions advisory and private funds advisory.
“We hire as generalists – that’s how junior bankers get the best breadth of experience across sectors and products,” Miyakawa says. “The millennials we hire have options, the ability to control the group they want to go to and focus in on, which is important.”
Moelis ranks 10th overall (and third among boutiques) in the U.S. M&A rankings and third in the global M&A rankings year-to-date (as of December 14), tallying 105 deals with an aggregate deal value of $2.17bn so far this year, according to Dealogic.
By the end of the third quarter, Moelis head had exceeded 700 employees, including 506 investment bankers, of which 115 are managing directors, across its 19 offices worldwide. In addition to its New York headquarters, the bank has been hiring in following U.S. offices: Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In October, ex-Harris Williams & Co. industrial technology investment banker Jay Hernandez joined the bank’s Boston office as an MD and ex-Marlin & Associates, UBS and Deutsche Bank fintech investment banker Jonathan Kaufman join the San Francisco office, also as an MD.
This hiring has come at a cost – it spent $99.6m on compensation for the first nine months of this year, a 13% increase on 2016, at a time when most larger investment banks are cutting back on pay.
Moelis is planning to continue adding experienced candidates at a similar rate in 2018.
“Across sectors, products and regions, we feel that there is a lot of room for growth going forward,” Miyakawa says. “There is a lot of white space still left, even in the U.S.”
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