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The 10 top boutique investment banks, and what they pay

2022 has very much been a licking-wounds kind of year for banking in general, but hey - smooth seas never made for good sailors. Boutique investment banks, which specialize in offering M&A advisory services, have had varied years.

What’s a boutique?

A boutique (investment) bank is one that deals with a particular area or has a particular specialty such as M&A advisory or restructuring. They employ much fewer people than a bulge bracket or middle market bank, but at the top of the boutique hierarchy, pay even better.

We’ve used the rankings of market intelligence firm Dealogic to order 2022’s best performing boutiques, and we’ve used our own research to give you an idea of how things look beyond deal volume.

Evercore Inc

Evercore kept its title as the top performing boutique in 2022, despite deal value falling by over 50% - from $400bn to $190bn. Revenues fell by 12% for the first nine months of 2022 compared to 2021, but although bonuses will be down, average pay is still on track to exceed $725k for 2022.

Centerview Partners

The second biggest boutique – according to deal value, at least – Centerview performed strongly in 2022, increasing its market share from 11.7% to 16.6%, despite the deal making volume it participated in declining by 25% in dollar terms.

Centerview reported an average UK pay of £294k per head in 2021, as per its Companies House filing, a significant decrease on the £379k paid in 2020.

Moelis & Co

Despite a 20% reduction in deal value, Moelis has been enjoying a strong 2022 – it’s market share increased by over 50%, and it shot up two places on Dealogic’s leaderboard – from fifth to third.

The firm’s companies house filings indicate an average pay of £440k across 172 employees in the UK. What’s more, despite the downturn in general market volume, it’s still hiring. Based on its annual report and latest quarter filings, it’s on track to pay $642k in average compensation for 2022.

Perella Weinberg Partners LP

Perella Weinberg was one of the biggest losers (in terms of deal value at least) between 2021 and 2022, with Dealogic recording a 65% fall in deal volume, and the firm losing a third of its market share.

Nonetheless, the pay seems to be spectacular – with salaries for associates (not including bonuses) anywhere between £120k and £145k depending on seniority. Total compensation ranges anywhere between £240k to £320k for juniors.

The boutique’s companies house filings indicate that compensation was £537k on average per employee in 2021, and its SEC filings indicate that the firm will pay an average of $584k in compensation in 2022.

PJT Partners Inc

PJT is the fifth best performing boutique of 2022, with revenues down 35% according to Dealogic, but in a tumultuous market that’s just called resilience - it rose from being seventh in 2021 and captures a greater market share.

The boutique’s bankers are very well paid, and currently on track to pay over $800k on average for 2022, despite increasing its headcount. Financial News reported that the boutique had hiked pay for juniors in London to £80k in August.

Arpwood Capital Pvt Ltd

Arpwood Capital is a 13-man team based in Mumbai who moved up to 6th on Dealogic’s leaderboard in 2022, mainly due to its involvement in the massive HDFC bank merger with HDFC. Both are based in Mumbai and the merger had a deal value of $57.8bn.

Eastdil Secured Capital Corp

One of the world’s premier real estate brokers, Eastdil was spun off by Wells Fargo in 2018 and is currently owned by Guggenheim and the Singaporean wealth fund Temasek. Although it was seventh of Dealogic’s list for 2022, it wasn’t even in the top ten for 2021 – indicating that real estate was less perturbed by 2022’s economic situation than other sectors.

Companies house indicates that, in 2021, Eastdil’s average compensation in the UK was £557k.

Qatalyst Partners LP

Tech-focused Qatalyst had an eye-wateringly high compensation in the UK – averaging out to £1.2m per head – although the bank’s total deal value participation fell by over 40% in 2022, per Dealogic. Qatalyst was founded in 2008 by Frank Quattrone, a former Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank superstar.

Greenhill & Co

Greenhill is another bank that climbed up the rankings. The bank, which is headquartered in New York but with 16 offices in 12 countries, is lavish with pay – it paid more in employee benefits and compensation than it made in revenue. Summer bonuses were overdue last we checked though, so the gravy train might have made its last stops.

Companies house gives average London compensation at £324k in 2021, and their SEC filings indicate global compensation to be around $495k per head, on average.

Houlihan Lokey

One of the biggest to lose out on Dealogic’s rankings, Houlihan Lokey saw the total value of the deals it worked on decline by nearly 70% in dollar terms. The firm is headquartered in Los Angeles (uniquely for this list) and had more office locations than we had the energy to count.

£328k average compensation in the UK for 2021 isn’t bad, though.

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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