Today, Vault releases its Banking 50 Rankings for 2020. The rankings are derived from Vault’s annual Banking Survey. The survey, conducted in the fall of 2019, asked 3,300 banking professionals of all levels to assess their peer firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on prestige (they were unable to rate their own firms and asked to only rate firms they were familiar with). They were also asked to rate their own firms in various quality of life categories, including compensation, hours, firm culture, business outlook, training, work/life balance, and overall job satisfaction. A weighted formula, which includes external prestige scores and internal quality of life scores, was applied to this data to create the Banking 50.
The 10 Best Investment Banks to Work For Based on Vault’s Annual Banking Survey Are:
7 (tie). Lazard
7 (tie). Perella Weinberg Partners
9. PJT Partners
10. Moelis & Company
No. 1 Centerview Offers “Great Opportunities for Advancement and Development”
This year marks the first time in the history of the Banking 50 that Centerview takes the top spot. Ranking No. 3 last year, New York-based Centerview leaps two places, jumping over Goldman Sachs and Evercore, to rank No. 1.
In addition to topping the Banking 50, Centerview dominates our Quality of Life Rankings this year, ranking No. 1 in 13 workplace categories: Ability to Challenge, Business Outlook, Client Interaction, Compensation, Culture, Firm Leadership, Formal Training, Hiring Process, Informal Training, Promotion Policies, Overall Satisfaction, Relationships with Managers, and Work/Life Balance. The firm also ranks No. 5 in our Prestige Rankings, with bankers at peer firms calling Centerview “the premier boutique,” with the “sharpest people and best pay on Wall Street.” It’s “the hardest investment banking job to get.”
Meanwhile, Centerview professionals tell us that the firm offers “great opportunities for advancement and development”—“you work on the largest and most complex and interesting deals on the Street” with “talented, good-natured,extremely bright, collegial people.”And “there’s no other shop on the Street where you’re compensated on par with and sometimes better than the buyside.”
No. 2 Evercore Has an “Excellent Culture and Supportive, Smart Colleagues”
Evercore again ranks No. 2 in the Banking 50, this year barely losing out to Centerview—less than 1 percentage point separates the two firms’ raw scores. Evercore also hangs onto its No. 4 ranking in Prestige. In addition, it ranks No. 1 in Diversity for Women, and places among the top three firms in three other Diversity categories as well as eight workplaces categories, including Business Outlook, Firm Leadership, Formal Training, Promotion Policies, and Overall Satisfaction.
Peer bankers call Evercore an “industry leader,” with “top-of-the-Street compensation and talent.” Meanwhile, Evercore insiders tell us the firm has an “excellent culture and supportive, smart colleagues,” and offers “great deal experience and training.” Insiders also say it offers “unlimited exit opportunities due to the firm’s prestige” and “many opportunities to build a professional network in the industries we cover.” At Evercore, “you’re able to actively pursue opportunities where you have strengths.”
No. 3 Goldman Is Still the “Gold Standard”
After holding the top spot in the Banking 50 for three straight years, Goldman Sachs slips to No. 3. But it remains No. 1 in Prestige, and so is still considered the “most prestigious investment banking firm to work for.” Peer bankers call Goldman “the Gold Standard,” “the best global bank,” “highly respected,” and “very well managed,” with “excellent M&A and restructuring practices.” Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs insiders say at Goldman you “work with the best in the business—intelligent, talented, driven, ambitious colleagues.” Insiders also laud the “amazing teamwork culture,” “good pay,” and, of course, “prestigious brand name.”
No. 4 Morgan Stanley Offers “Great Exposure to Senior Bankers and a Lot of Responsibility”
Morgan Stanley holds onto its No. 4 ranking in the Banking 50 and its No. 2 ranking in Prestige. This year, Morgan Stanley insiders tells us that the best aspects of working for the firm include “the great people and culture—you work with intelligent individuals who all strive for excellence”; the “personal and career growth—great exposure to seniors and you’re given a lot of responsibility and are constantly challenged”; and the “the prestige.” Meanwhile, bankers at peer firms say Morgan Stanley is “very good in M&A” and has “excellent internet and e-commerce coverage.” It’s a “staple in the industry” and “seems to be the hungriest of all.”
No. 5 Guggenheim Securities Is a “Firm on the Rise”
This year, Guggenheim Securities jumps an impressive three places in the Banking 50 to take the No. 5 spot. The firm also ranks No. 1 in Benefits, and places among the top three firms in nine other workplace categories, including Business Outlook, Compensation, Culture, Overall Satisfaction, and Relationships with Managers. Peer bankers call Guggenheim “a firm on the rise” and the “best in media and entertainment.” Meanwhile, firm insiders say that the best parts about working at Guggenheim Securities include the “great people and culture,” “great comp,” and “strong deal flow”—“you get a lot of significant deal experience and a lot of responsibility.”
No. 6 Bank of America Is “Making Huge Strides in Diversity”
Bank of America leaps to No. 6 in the Vault 50 this year, after ranking No. 9 last year. It also again nearly sweeps the Diversity Rankings, ranking No. 1 in three out of four Diversity categories: Overall Diversity, LGBTQ Diversity, and Minority Diversity. It also ranks No. 2 in Diversity for Women and No. 1 in CSR Initiatives. According to peer bankers, this “big player” and “top-tier U.S. bank” is “making huge strides in diversity.” And according to BofA insiders, some of the best aspects about life at the firm include the “excellent teamwork culture”; “transaction experience—working with big clients on notable deals”; and “good benefits.”
About 16 months ago, I posted a blog entitled, An Open Letter to Wall Street Recruiters: What Junior Bankers Really Want. In it, I suggested that investment banks, in their efforts to better their offerings to entry-level employees, shouldn't focus on increasing salaries and bonuses as much as on increasing job responsibilities, including:
More deal experience and better deal experience.
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