It isn’t easy finding rays of sunshine amid the gloom in today’s headlines, but Morgan Keegan, one of the nation’s largest regional full-service brokerage and investment banking firms, has announced the hiring of nine municipal banking, sales and trading professionals in the Northeast, the second expansion in that market in just over a year.
The firm has tapped executives from UBS Investment Bank, JP Morgan Securities, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Securities and the former Bear Stearns & Company to strengthen its New England team, according to a company-issued news release.
Morgan Keegan’s Fixed Income Capital Markets division is one of the largest institutional fixed income operations off of Wall Street. The division encompasses more than 500 professionals in bond research, sales, trading, underwriting and investment banking. Morgan Keegan was also the 11th leading senior manager of long term municipal issues in the nation in 2007, according to Thomson Reuters.
Professionals with experience in financial restructuring, auditing and risk analysis could find this bear market a good time to be self-employed, says David King, an executive vice-president at Robert Half Management Resources. His firm specializes in placing contract people in finance and accounting.
According to King, quoted in Canada’s Globe and Mail, “Companies are going to need help in during the financial shakeout, but companies are going to be cautious about committing to a full-time position and the benefits and long-term commitment that comes with it.”
However a short-term, contract job can help you get your foot in the door of a good firm, and be at the front of the line when the economy picks up and companies start hiring again for full-time investment banking jobs and other financial positions.
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania recently asked a few investment banking heavyweights to proffer up their advice to the school’s MBA students. CEOs, Co-Chairmen and economists from top firms such as UBS Securities, Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup attended the Wharton Finance Conference, according to Deal Journal, a blog published by the Wall Street Journal. Some of their insights include:
Investment banking will survive, but the business model built upon short-term funding and popularized by firms such as Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns is indeed dead. However, bank deposits, which are more secure than overnight loans from other banks, will continue to fuel what investment banks do best: namely, lending, trading and financing.
The M&A advisory side of the business will be more active in the next few years than the capital-markets side. And the most active part might be restructuring, which advises bankrupt companies. This may be a particularly good investment banking career choice, at least for the next few years until the economy recovers.
If you are thinking of working on the M&A advisory side, consider boutique investment banks. The article mentioned boutiques such as Evercore Partners, Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, Perella Weinberg and Greenhill as good candidates, given that they have all had an increase in their M&A business recently.
And if you are considering capital markets, focus on distressed debt, because there will be plenty of troubled assets looking for buyers. Or consider emerging markets, because the investment banking business is increasingly global.