Challenging for the lead in Mergers & Acquisitions

Anyone looking to get an investment banking job advising on mergers and acquisitions might be well advised to check out Credit Suisse Group. The Wall Street Journal reports that firm has shot up the rankings and now sits at number two in the world, just behind M&A behemoth Goldman Sachs.

The Swiss bank has advised on $211 billion of announced deals this year alone. That includes four of the year’s largest deals, according to data quoted from Dealogic. Credit Suisse is currently advisor to Prudential PLC in an attempt to purchase an Asian life-insurance business from American International Group Inc.

Many bankers were surprised when Credit Suisse jumped to the top of the “league tables,” which rank investment banks on the dollar volume of deals on which they have advised. Last year Credit Suisse was ranked seventh.

The firm’s executives attribute it to their stability as a firm, at a time when other giants such as Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers were being torn apart by the financial crisis. Credit Suisse also weathered the storm without needing any government handouts.

This stability apparently extends to its top professionals. Its top 10 M&A bankers have reportedly been at the bank for 20 years, on average, and refer to themselves as “the boring ones.” “We’ve not changed our stripes despite the downturn,” said Boon Sim, the global head of Credit Suisse’s mergers-and-acquisitions advisory group. He oversees a team of more than 175 M&A bankers, many of whom have only worked at Credit Suisse.

What’s your opinion? Are you surprised at Credit Suisse’s ascendency? Or has their more conservative approach enabled them to fare better through the recession … and perhaps become the model for investment banks moving forward? Add your comments below.

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May June 12, 2010 at 2:13 am

Credit Suisse, the second place holder in Dealogic’s league table of investment banks, “is very collegial, team-oriented, supportive, diverse and global” as put by a current employee in one survey. It’s a great fun to be part of a firm where you can find a valuable support in terms of your career development. I wish I could work for CS, and I hope I will in near future as I have been preparing myself to get through recently.

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