Boutique investment banks have generally had a spectacular 2016. While the M&A fee pool has generally declined on a stellar 2015, boutiques have been grabbing a larger market share and profits have been on the up.
The good thing about working for a boutique investment bank is that they're not (or at least, not yet) constrained by pay rules that prevent larger institutions from paying big bonuses. If boutiques have a good year, their staff benefit and very often it's a small pool of people seeing big pay days.
But how much do boutiques pay really? It’s usually difficult to tell as most are partnerships and don’t make their accounts public. In the UK, however, they’re compelled to register regular accounts with Companies House. We looked at these and have listed the results below.
Robey Warshaw’s profits swelled to £36.6m for the year ended 31 March 2016 – published this week – up from £19.4m in 2015. Despite this, the bank has just 11 employees (up from 9 last year) and 3 members in the UK. The member with the largest entitlement received a massive £18.1m – more than double that paid in 2015. The remaining employees shared £5.7m or £520k ($640k) per head, up from £370.5k ($456k) in 2015.
Set up by brothers Michael and Yoel Zaoui in 2013, this advisory boutique has 13 employees in London, according to its latest accounts. It paid them an average of £411.3k ($506.2k) for the 12 months to 31 December 2015 and made an operating profit of £10.9m ($13.4m) for the period.
Evercore’s latest accounts are for the 12 months to 31 December 2015, and cover the UK LLP. It has 51 partners – up from 47 in 2014 – and five employees that fall outside of this, which is flat on 2014. It made an operating profit of £58.4m ($72m), up from £36.2m the previous year. Evercore paid its members £19.3m, or an average of £378.8k ($466.5k), an increase from £307.7k ($378.9k) in 2014.
This San Francisco headquartered tech-focused boutique has just six staff based in the UK, according to its latest accounts, and it paid them £2.1m ($2.6m) for the year to 31 December 2015, up from £1.3m in 2014. This works out as £353.5k ($437.8k) as an average per head. Headcount remained flat.
Centerview Partners had its best year in the UK since it set up in 2009, according to its latest accounts for the 12 months to 31 March 2016. It posted revenues of £40.8m ($50.2m), up from £26.3m in 2015. It’s been hiring – albeit in small numbers – with staff numbers up from 23 in 2015 to 27 last year. On an average pay per head basis, this is an average of £334k ($412k), which increased from £241.7k for the previous 12 months.
In the 12 months to March 2016, Houlihan Lokey had a good year in Europe. Pre tax profits were up to around £7m ($8.6m), from £5.1m in 2015. It’s also been hiring – the number of directors and other executives increased to 83 (from 78 in 2015) and it added six administrative staff over the year, to 43 people. Pay, however, has gone down. Overall, compensation costs were down 2%, but average pay per head slipped from £332.9k ($407k) in 2015, to £293.9k ($360k) in 2016.
Relatively speaking, Moelis & Co indulged in some big hiring in 2015 (the latest available figures), increasing headcount from 91 to 126 people. It paid them an average of £307.8k ($378k), up from £232k in 2014. This is more down to the fact that it converted some of its ‘A members’ – highly ranked members of the LLP – into employees at the beginning of 2015.
Revenues at Perella Weinberg more than doubled to £50.1m ($61.6m) in 2015 (the latest available) in its UK limited partnership. It’s been hiring – headcount went from 73 people in 2014 to 86 last year. Average pay per head was £288.8k ($355k), up from £272k in 2014.
Greenhill kept headcount flat in its UK operation for the 12 months to 31 December 2015 (again, the latest available figures). 49 people work in investment banking functions and 13 in administration. Across the group, it paid an average of £111.6k ($138.3k), which fell from £144.3k in 2014.