Most people who aspire to achieve a successful career on Wall Street believe they need to complete a two- or three-year investment banking analyst program at a bulge-bracket and get promoted up the bank’s ranks (or jump to a competitor or the buy side) from there. Not necessarily.
There are plenty of under-the-radar Wall Street jobs that you shouldn’t overlook.
If you're an M&A banker at any level, you should probably consider hitting the boutiques. “We’re starting to see a lot of rainmakers going from larger shops and establishing their own advisory firms,” says Gary McCool, VP and investment banking specialist at Selby Jennings.
For example, Goldman Sachs partner Gordon Dyal retired in 2015 after 16 years at the bank, having served as co-chairman of the investment banking division and a member of its management committee. He founded boutique Dyal Co. the following year and has been hiring investment bankers from his former firm and other banks. New York-based M. Klein & Co., founded by former Citigroup executive Michael Klein, has also continued to expand.
“For juniors, if you join a boutique, you get more exposure to senior bankers, who are getting paid very well over there – all in comp is on average maybe more than biggest firms on the Street,” McCool says. “You’ll be working on top deals, getting more exposure and operational experience, things you wouldn’t get at the traditional two-year analyst program.
“Many of these boutiques are looking to make analyst and associate hires, given their relationships and how established they were at bulge-brackets, they do a lot more networking to get the senior people hired, then grow the junior ranks through recruitment,” he says.
As far as sector demand, there’s a lot of desire for heathcare industry experts across both investment banking and asset management, according to Alexis DuFresne, director of the asset management practice at Whitney Partners.
“In investment banking, a lot of the action is in the lower-middle-market firms, which are less regulated, and you can get paid outside of the typical bulge-bracket compensation structure,” she says.
At both large and middle-market banks, there has been a fever of activity in restructuring, largely because their teams are so lean. For more traditional restructuring advisory firms, like Jefferies and Piper Jaffray, salaries are $150k, $175k and $200k for first-year, second-year and third-year associates respectively, and $200k or more for VPs.
“As a twist on completing a two-year program at a large investment bank and eventually segue to the buy side, some candidates are acquiring a restructuring skill set so they can go to a distressed fund,” McCool says. “Getting exposed to complicated, hairy situations sets them up for a specific path to the buy side in a more seamless fashion.
“I have seen people from a normal coverage group or product group make the jump to restructuring to position themselves for a buy-side opportunity in the future,” he says. “Distressed credit funds are looking to hire restructuring bankers with experience working on distressed M&A.”
The family office space is really growing and becoming more sophisticated, especially within multi-family office (MFO) organizations. These types of firms are pushing toward growing internal investment products and teams, according to DuFresne.
“Rather than rely on external managers with high fees, family offices are hiring buy-side investment analysts and portfolio managers to manage money in-house, as well as due-diligence professionals,” she says. “Some of the larger family offices are shaping internal hedge fund and private equity allocation programs, or they’re launching traditional or alternative investment products in-house.
“I recently worked with a high-profile PE professional who left a senior position at a multi-billion-dollar-AUM fund to build out a real-estate portfolio within a family office, and that kind of a move isn’t unheard of.”
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