The Best Investment Banks You Never Heard of and They Are Hiring

Chances are, if you’re pursuing an investment banking career, you’ve sent a curricula vitae to UBS and any number of its tangled nest of affiliates and subsidiaries. It is, after all, the biggest bank in Switzerland, making it the largest conglomeration of private wealth in the world.

Chances are also pretty good you got exactly nowhere there. UBS laid off 5,000 bankers and, as of this writing, have planned 10,000 more job cuts as it winds down its fixed income operainvestment banks hiringtions.

The good news is that, if you’ve got UBS on your resume, you probably will have little trouble teeing up a new job. But even if you couldn’t find Basel with Google Maps, a GPS, and a Predator drone, you can still take aim at where the jobs are going.

According to British web site, the biggest surge in hiring former UBS bankers was by cross-town rivals Credit Suisse, with JPMorgan a very close second. After that, the deluge: Citigroup, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, and Deutsche Bank. Then comes the Japanese banks Mizuho International and Nomura.

But then something odd happens with the histogram put together by reporter Paul Clarke: Interspersed with the other bigfoot investment banks are a number of boutique investment banking houses that count UBS’s loss of talent as their gain. You’re probably already alerting Goldman Sachs and HSBC of your immediate availability and willingness to relocate, but what about VTB CapitalCanaccord GenuityBTG PactualKnight Capital, or Macquarie?

The thing about that list is that it focuses on quantity. Boutique firms have been aggressively courting and winning some of UBS’s top-tier talent. If you’ve never heard of Code Advisors, Liberum Capital, AgFe LLP, or Broad Securities, well, don’t worry. Neither have we. But they are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hiring the movers and shakers whom UBS has shaken off.


Of course, there’s no guarantee that any of these organizations are going to hire any specific individual with a UBS pedigree. It certainly doesn’t mean that they are hitting “refresh” every minute on their inboxes waiting for your resume.

But it is illustrative of one very important aspect of the job hunt: you don’t need to be with a big bank.  And you certainly don’t need that in order to make the most money. You don’t need it to have the highest prestige. You don’t even need it for career advancement, considering how people in the investment banking industry jump around once they get past the entry level.

If the big banks are downsizing, maybe it’s because smaller, under-the-radar players are wooing away their top talent. Maybe your path to a satisfying investment banking career is through a less well-recognized firm – but one where you can make an immediate impact. All you need is to know where to look.

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Clip watch: December 2013 | Finance & Technology Writer William Freedman
December 17, 2013 at 3:36 pm

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Sheila Mullan December 25, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Nice story, good job! Sheila

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