If you're a seasoned rainmaker with a host of close client relationships gathered over decades in the industry, quitting a bulge bracket investment bank seems like a logical thing to do. The likes of Robey Warshaw and Hannam & Partners have shown that it's possible to make waves in the advisory space with a small team.
But what if you were were an executive director? Could you make the leap to start your own corporate finance advisory firm as a mid-ranking investment banker?
Antoine Noblot, a former equity capital markets investment banker at Goldman Sachs, has done just that. He has just started Klimt Advisory, a consultancy firm focused on corporate finance, capital markets and financing, corporate governance and investor relations.
Noblot joined Goldman Sachs in 2010 as an associate in ECM, from J.P. Morgan where he held the same position, but was promoted to executive director in 2012. He started his investment banking career in equity research at Deutsche Bank in 2002, but moved across to an M&A role at Rothschild in 2003.
Starting your own firm during a relatively tough period for investment banking advisory is a bold move, but Noblot's public profile says he is currently "retained full-time on a confidential mandate".
What's more, ECM is undoubtedly an uncomfortable place to work right now, particularly in EMEA. New figures from Dealogic suggest that EMEA ECM volume dropped 38% to $174bn in 2016 after an already difficult 2015. The UK was the biggest market in Europe, but deals were still down by 34% to $40.8bn. Goldman Sachs finished second in the league tables in EMEA, with an 8.4% market share. J.P. Morgan was top with 10.4% of the total.
Noblot's move is in-keeping with the trend of investment bankers leaving bulge bracket firms to start their own operations. Peter Bell, the former head of UK M&A at BAML, started corporate finance boutique Cardean Bell last month, while Peter Bacchus, who was joint head of investment banking and global head of metals and mining at Jefferies, is also in the process of gaining regulatory approval for a new company called Bacchus Capital Advisors.
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