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The Top 10 Ideal Boutique Bank Employers

We asked 7,500 people who they wanted to work for Ideal Employer survey, forming a statistical basis for our Ideal Employer report - which came out last month. Unsurprisingly, a lot of you picked boutique banks.

Boutique banks, which specialize in M&A advisory business, are special animals in the finance jungle. They represent and exaggerate some of the best traits of investment banks (such as the prestige and compensation) whilst also increasing many of their worst (such as the working hours, cut-throat environment, and job stress). Many boutiques are just smaller investment banks – although the line between “boutique” and “middle market” has increasingly blurred in recent years.

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The top-rated boutique, according to our respondents, is William Blair. As a partnership owned by its employees, William Blair can be perceived as safe and cautious. In the current challenging market for M&A, it’s made some job cuts whilst also declaring its intention to grow in Europe.

What makes William Blair so popular? It’s all about its perceived culture compared to other boutiques - it scored particularly strongly relative to other boutiques on cultural metrics. However, it scored below average for qualitative statements about career prospects.

William Blair says it’s focused on hiring a “diversity of skills, capabilities, perspectives,” and that it offers a “culture of collaboration and accountability that offers compelling work and direct client exposure from the very beginning.”

Second-place Lincoln International also rides the boutique/middle market line very carefully. Although best known for smaller deals, Lincoln has a culture of hard work and decent pay – placing it in line with many top tier banks. Lincoln scored above average in our qualitative statements for the perception that it’s a “place for people like me.”

Third place Centerview Partners scored well – above average relative to other boutiques on various metrics, including pay, long term careers, and some statements concerning culture. Centerview Partners is often seen as one of the most desirable boutiques to work for. However, it’s perceived as having downsides. Respondents to our survey put Centerview well below average for the all-important cultural metrics concerning flexible work.

The full eFinancialCareers Ideal Employer report can be downloaded here.

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Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: +44 7537 182250 (SMS, Whatsapp or voicemail). Telegram: @SarahButcher. Click here to fill in our anonymous form, or email Signal also available.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher & Zeno Toulon Insider Comment

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