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Back to blog May 04, 2018 No Comments Author: Andy Jones

Investment Banks – Deal Makers per Firm

At Private Equity Info, we track the senior level executives at the various investment banks. I thought it might be interesting to look at the number of investment bankers per firm to gauge what an industry-wide “normal” middle market investment banking firm might look like.

Firm Size Histogram

The chart below shows the break-down of middle market investment banks by number of deal makers at each firm:

Invesment Bankers - Dealmakers per Firm

For this study, I limited the data to middle market firms in the United States. By middle market, we mean the typical deal size they work on, not the size of the firm itself. Further, to count dealmakers per firm, I limited the data to those executives with titles of Vice President and higher, (excluding Analysts, Associates, office staff, HR, marketing, etc.).

Larger Firms

At the larger end of the spectrum, there are 18 firms with more than 50 deal makers (including a few with more than 150 deal makers). Representatives of the largest middle market firms include:

Small Firms

At the other end of the size spectrum, there are a lot of single-person shops actively working on middle market deals. These are often managing directors who have left larger investment banks to start their own hyper-efficient firms using their established industry networks. A random sampling of single-dealmaker middle market firms:

Median-Sized Firms

The median investment bank (as measured by the number of dealmakers) has only 4 deal makers plus one or two junior bankers and typically one or two support staff – around 8 people total. There are 148 firms in our M&A research database that fit this exact profile (421 if you count firms with 3, 4 or 5 deal makers). The following dozen firms provide a (random) representative sample of what a “typical”, median middle market investment bank looks like across the country (shown in alphabetical order):

Demographics of a Middle Market Investment Banker

Using just the 12 median-sized firms above as a representative sample (admittedly a small sample size), I compiled some demographics.

Education

  • 65% of these executives had a Master’s degree, most often an MBA with a concentration in Finance.
  • Undergraduate studies were from a variety of universities, but MBAs centered around the major business schools (Columbia, Harvard, Chicago, Wharton).

Below is a list of universities attended by the senior-level staff at each firm for both undergraduate and master’s degrees. Each row is a unique executive.

Universities Attended

UndergraduateMasters
Union CollegeBoston University
Robert Morris UniversityCleveland State University
Trinity CollegeColumbia
YaleColumbia
Pennsylvania State UniversityDrexel University
University of North CarolinaEmory University
University of Southern CaliforniaEmory University
University of VermontGeorgetown University
University of KansasHarvard
University of KansasHarvard
University of North CarolinaHarvard
University of VirginiaHarvard
University of WisconsinKellogg
Colgate UniversityNew York University
University of OregonPortland State University
Georgetown UniversityTexas A&M
Malone UniversityUniversity of Akron
Columbia UniversityUniversity of Chicago
Princeton UniversityUniversity of Chicago
University of PennsylvaniaUniversity of Chicago
University of GeorgiaUniversity of Georgia
Bethel UniversityUniversity of Minnesota
Davidson CollegeUniversity of North Carolina
Duke UniversityUniversity of North Carolina
Duke UniversityUniversity of North Carolina
University of North CarolinaUniversity of North Carolina
Middle Tennessee State UniversityUniversity of Tennessee
DartmouthWharton
St. Olaf CollegeWharton
Stanford UniversityWharton
Cleveland State University
Cornell
Dickinson College
Gettysburg College
Harvard
London School of Economics
Ohio State University
St. John’s University
University of Colorado
University of Houston
University of Oregon
University of Texas
Vanderbilt
Walton School of Commerce
Wesleyan University
Wharton

 

Age

Although the age of the founding partners for these representative firms ranges from ~45 to ~70 years old, most are tightly distributed around mid-50’s. Considering most of these firms have been around for a while, a good assumption is that the founders likely started their firms while in their 40’s.

Gender

The senior executives in this representative sample of firms were 96% male, 4% female. I find this fairly consistent with the mix of people attending M&A conferences. Unfortunate.

Summary

Perhaps the demographic profile provided (mid-50’s, predominantly male, Finance MBA from a top school) might be useful to business development executives wanting to more specifically target these fragmented I-bankers working on middle market deals – particularly for private equity firms reaching out to generate new deal flow.

 

 

Watch a one minute video on how to best search our database of investment banks.