Top 10 Boutique Investment Banks

Updated on May 2, 2024
Article bySayantan Mukhopadhyay
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Top Boutique Investment Banks

A boutique investment bank is conceptually different than any other investment bank. Boutique investment banks usually work on small deals. They work with mid-market companies whose revenues are within the range of a billion dollars. Most boutique investment bank specializes in one of the aspects of capital raising, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations and corporate finance. It is being seen that a lot of corporates are hiring boutique investment banks to ease up their financial troubles. The reasons for hiring boutique investment banks over others are the skilled individuals (more than one), no chance of conflicts and being able to be independent irrespective of receiving support from the boutique investment banks.

In this article, we will discuss top boutique investment banks in the world. We will see briefly about each of them and what services they provide. Let’s get started right away.

Sr. NoNameYear of FoundationHead QuarterRevenue
1.Allen & Company1922New York City, US
2.Cowen1918New York City, US
3.Perella Weinberg Partners2006New York City, USApproximately US $8.6 Billion
4.Lazard1848Hamilton, BermudaUS $2.41 Billion
5.Rothschild1811City of London, UK34.435 Million Pounds (Net Income)
6.Evercore Partners1996New York City, USUS $760 Million
7.Greenhill & Co.1996New York City, USUS $287 Million
8.Blackstone1985New York City, USUS $7.484 Billion
9.Houlihan Lokey1972California, US
10.Jefferies & Co.1962New York City, USUS $3416 Million

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Source: Top 10 Boutique Investment Banks (wallstreetmojo.com)

Let us now look at the details of these Top Boutique Investment Banks.

Allen & Company (Global M&A Advisory – Media & Entertainment focused)

  • Bank Services: Allen & Company is an American privately held Investment banking boutique firm that specializes in media and entertainment sectors. It was founded by Charles Robert Allen, Jr. After some time, his brother Herbert A. Allen, Sr. and Harold Allen joined in. Now the CEO of Allen & Company is Herbert A. Allen, Jr. who shies away from the public; thus doesn’t maintain his own website. There are four major events in the history of Allen & Company and their dealings which should be mentioned. In 1973, a stake of Columbia Pictures was bought by Allen & Co. Later in 1982, the business was sold to Coca-Cola which made Allen & Co. significant profit, as well as Herbert A. Allen, Jr., who has ensured a place in the board of directors of Coca-Cola. In 2004, during the Google initial offering, Allen & Co. was one of the ten underwriters. In 2013, Allen & Co. was also one of the seven underwriters on the initial offering of Twitter Inc. In February 2014, when Facebook acquired Whatsapp in the US $19 billion, Allen & Co. was Facebook’s advisor.
  • Office culture/career: The office culture was quite dynamic in Allen & Co., as people from all walks of life have joined Allan & Co. From ex-governor of Nebraska to the former director of CIA and also legendary people from baseball and basketball joined Allen & Co. It’s quite obvious that Allen & Co. thrives on new ideas from all walks of people and visualizes its current existence as a far enriching boutique investment bank than it was before.
  • Strength/weakness: The major strength of Allen & Co. is personal relationships. And this is the key to its success. Allen & Co. continually draws upon people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Donald Keough, etc.

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Cowen (Global M&A Advisory – Boutique)

  • Bank Services: Cowen Group is a diversified financial services firm that provides alternative investment management, research, investment banking. It has two business segments – one is Ramius LLC which provides alternative asset management solutions to global clients and another is Cowen and Company, LLC which deals with a broker-dealer segment. Cowen Group focuses on a lot of sectors. Aerospace & Defence, Healthcare, IT Services, Real Estates are a few of them.
  • Office culture/career: Cowen Group is one of the smartest places to work in. They attract only the best talent who can deliver in their two primary business groups. They value human capital more than anything else and they understand how helping to achieve individual goals helps shape the organizational vision. Cowen group also encourages diversity in the workplace and they also emphasize wellness at the workplace.
  • Strength/Weakness: Cowen group is the go-to bank for every investor who wants to thrive in their businesses. As Cowen group is a diversified boutique investment bank, providing services in so many sectors, they are chosen over any other banks in diversified businesses. But there is a weakness of this strength. As they focus on too many sectors, the focus on each sector may often spread thin and lose the quality of the service.

Perella Weinberg Partners (Global M&A Advisory – Boutique)

  • Bank Services: Perella Weinberg Partners is a newer firm compared to its other counterparts. It protrudes its motto as “solving the unsolvable” and delivers results. The prime focus of this world-class boutique investment banking firm is in few areas namely – M&A, financial restructuring, strategic advisory, private capital advisory, and capital structure advisory. Three of the most lucrative transactions of Perella Weinberg Partners are with Deutsche Borse AG, Sunoco LP, and Deutsche Wohnen AG. All the deals are of more than a few billion euros. The firm’s main business focus is on complete client satisfaction; thus provides amazing customer-centric services.
  • Office culture/career: With proper care in building individuality as well as the culture of the organization, Perella Weinberg Partners thrive in the moment of crisis. They aim to face challenges with a multi-dimensional approach and exception efficiency in what they deliver. Thus they recruit people who are ambitious, love challenges, and will go the extra mile to make things happen.
  • Strength/Weakness: The strength of this firm is its uniqueness and customer-centric approach to deal with investors’ issues. In the firm’s advisory board, all the top people of the world are recruited – from former Chairman and CEO of Nokia to Chairman, IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, etc. The major weakness of the firm is that it is comparatively newer than its counterparts which may create some challenges due to inexperience.

Lazard (Global M&A Advisory)

  • Bank Services: Lazard is one of the oldest and best investment boutique firms in the world. It has been serving its clients for more than 167 years. Lazard emphasizes financial advisory and asset management. In the financial advisory, they serve in M&A, capital structuring, capital raising, and restructuring. Their belief is that clients come back to us knowing well that what they can deliver wouldn’t be otherwise possible for anyone else in a similar domain of expertise.
  • Office culture/career: The culture of Lazard is diversified. It serves in more than 40 countries and it has 42 offices worldwide. It has its employees from more than 70 plus countries which are proof of how Lazard has become an encourager of diversity in the office culture. Moreover, Lazard values individual contributions as well as the overall outcome which helps Lazard maintain the organizational alignment between its employees and its vision.
  • Strength/Weakness: The major strength of this firm is the tradition and values it hones over the years. It connects the history of the financial advisory and helps them see a big picture better than anyone else in the industry. Quite often than not, when they think of themselves best of the best with all the years of experience, there is a chance of complacency.

Rothschild (Global M&A Advisory – Boutique)

  • Bank services: Rothschild demands that they are the most impartial and creative bank to work with. They provide services in strategic advisory and financial advisory including restructuring. They handle all deals – from small domestic transactions to large cross border transactions. They have also a specific team to handle small and complex transactions; they call it “Transaction M.”
  • Office culture/career: Rothschild is a global firm. They employ people from more than 40 countries and around 2800 people from all these 40 countries work here. Their culture concentrates on inclusiveness which has been realized by very few firms on earth. Organizations talk about diversified human capital, but being inclusive is a very strategic and enlightened move.
  • Strength/Weakness: Rothschild is not only a firm that supports individuals in handling their financial transactions, but it has supported 335 charities hitherto. Rothschild has a specialist team for small, complex transactions; but they are not as good in handling large projects as they are in small deals.

Evercore Partners (Global M&A Advisory – Boutique)

  • Banking services: Evercore Partners mainly has two services to offer – first is investment banking advisory services which are over $2 trillion in announced transactions and includes divestitures and restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, financings, public offerings, etc. ; another is investment management services which are over $8 billion in assets under management and includes institutional asset management, private equity funds management, etc.
  • Office culture/career: The core values of Encore Partners are excellence, experience, integrity, and independence. Mainly they hire employees from the USA and Europe.
  • Strength/weakness: The major strength of Encore Partners is its incredible repute of execution, whereas it cannot be called a global business as it hires mainly from Europe and the USA.

Greenhill & Co. (Global M&A Advisory – Boutique)

  • Bank services: Greenhill & Co. provides services for big as well as small deals. It generally serves in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, financing and restructuring, and capital advisory. The sectors where Greenhill & Co. serves are industrial, financial services, energy, utilities and infrastructure, technology, etc.
  • Office culture/career: Since its inception in 1996, it has been maintaining top-class human resources to serve its clients better. They pride themselves with attracting the best employees and maintaining a collegial (i.e. shared responsibility) culture.
  • Strength/Weakness: Their major strength is that they handle clients from Japan to the USA and the deals also vary from $100 million to billion dollars deals. One of the things they can improve is to tap into the developing country which they are yet to explore.

Blackstone (Global M&A Advisory)

  • Bank services: Blackstone is one of the most premier boutique firms in the world. They provide services in private equity, real estate, hedge fund solutions (BAAM), and credit (GSO). Their philosophy revolves around the art of a long view.
  • Office culture/career: Blackstone is really a global organization that attracts employees from all over the world. Not only that, but they also serve clients all over the world. They help secure benefits for 29 million pensioners only in the US, and millions internationally. During their 30 years of existence in the industry, they have always delivered magnificent results.
  • Strength/Weakness: The major part of working in Blackstone is that you can always grow and get better as they conduct many programs and workshops for women, veterans, and experienced people.

Houlihan Lokey (Global Investment Bank – Boutique)

  • Bank services: Houlihan Lokey offers various services. Mainly they provide services in Corporate Finance (Mergers & Acquisitions, Capital Markets & Illiquid Financial Asset Practice), Financial Advisory Services (Transaction Opinions, Transaction Advisory Services, Tax & Financial Reporting valuation, Portfolio Valuation & Advisory, Real Estate Valuation & Advisory, and Financial Consulting) and Financial Restructuring (Distressed Mergers & Acquisitions and Special Situations).
  • Office culture/career: Houlihan Lokey looks for excellence and they aim to achieve that in their employees. Thus they hire people who have only one trait – a drive for excellence. They are the number one bank in satisfaction, firm culture, international opportunities, and promotion policies.
  • Strength/Weakness: They are an excellent employer to work with, but as they focus on too many sectors, their focus may spread thin. But overall they believe in delivering excellence.

Jefferies & Co. (Global Investment Bank)

  • Bank services: Jefferies & Co. are one of the most premier investment banks in the world. They provide services in Debt Capital Markets, Equity Capital Markets, Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Capital Advisory, Restructuring & Recapitalization, etc.
  • Office culture/career: Jefferies & Co. boasts of their equal opportunity culture and they employ people from various backgrounds, having diversified degrees and qualifications. According to HITC Business, Jefferies & Co. is the best place to work in the decade. They have also designed an employee benefits program that takes care of employees’ insurance, helps in family planning, and organizes wellness programs.
  • Strength/ Weakness: The major strength of Jefferies & Co. is its people and how they deliver the results to the clients. They are the perfect example of “if you take care of your employees, your employees will automatically take care of your clients.”

This has been a guide to Top 10 Boutique Investment Banks. If you are looking forward to making a career in Banking, then you can check out some of the following articles –