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Rise of the M&A Boutique

Over the last 4 years we have seen the credibility of the ‘Boutique Investment Bank’ rise from the depths. Depths far far below the most snobbiest of ‘reading spectacle glares’, to a level competing and niching into a space previously owned by the all conquering ‘Bulge brackets’.    

The classic boutiques such as Evercore, Lazard and Rothschild have grown increasingly strong both in numbers and ambition, taking mandates from the major players as they are specialised, competitive and provide a more honest approach to partnership. Bottom line…they care about their bottom line!  Service is naturally better and the desire for longer term business is 100% genuine.   

Another major factor to consider is throughout 08/09/10 top bankers from the traditional big banks have had to reconsider their future, having either being ruthlessly tossed from the comfort of bulging teams and pension pots or realising that the dream may be ending have sought out opportunities in more stable and growing organisations. Obviously plenty of bankers move across to Boutiques for genuine reasons (which are the ones we want), so the amount of talent on offer to these organisations has increased on a pretty big scale. 

This has naturally led to the growth of younger brother and sister boutiques such as Gleacher Shacklock, Arma Partners and Greenhill who have become tier one organisations in their own right due to the calibre of not only the deals they are closing, but also the individuals they are retaining and continuing to hire.   

Naturally too much competition is not healthy as Lexicon found out (present long before 2008, graduated at a similar time to close friend Hawkpoint) having recently been gobbled up by Evercore.  However this is an example of the strength that boutiques are starting to hold in themselves, other examples fall in line with the previously unattainable Bulge Bracket Bankers seeing value in a move to one of these organisations.  In the last three years your average top tier banker has been knocked down a branch or two in the sacred Bulge trust tree and realised, God forbid, they may just get better experience and exposure in a busy, highly credible boutique.  

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