Boutique investment banks normally get involved in small transactions, very often smaller than a billion dollars. Very often, they are active in the sell side of M&A transactions.
In addition, many boutique investment banks often specialise in particular industries, such as healthcare, media, technology, industrials or energy. Some of them might even specialise in particular types of transactions or preferred underwriting.
The typical investment bank has only one, two or three offices, often focusing on a particular geographic region.
Although many boutique investment banks have been founded by former CEOs and senior staff members of large banks, their operation can be very different from that of a conventional bank.
Since the financial and economic crisis hit the US, many senior bankers have left mainstream banks in favour of smaller boutique banks, which often resemble the partnerships which all but ruled Wall Street thirty to forty years ago. Boutique banks are attracting an ever-larger share of the advising and mergers and acquisitions market.
Rothschild Investment Bank
The private investment bank N M Rothschild & Sons is usually simply referred to as Rothschild. The bank was founded in London in 1811, and it now operates globally through a network of 50 offices.
Rothschild is very often considered within the top 10 investment banks globally, when it comes to mergers and acquisitions. During 2011, in fact, the bank was the sixth largest adviser for M&A deals globally, according to data supplied by Thomson Financial.
The company is particularly active in Europe, especially in France, the UK, Italy, Germany and the Benelux. Its activities also extend to Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and North America.
The bank’s main competitors are JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Greenhil and Co and Lazard.
Stephens Investment Bank
Stephens Inc. is a privately owned investment bank with its headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. Quite appropriately, the company’s head office is one of the tallest buildings in Arkansas.
W.R. Witt Stephens founded Stephens in 1933. He was joined by his brother, Jackson T Stephens in 1946, who subsequently served as CEO and Chairman of the board from 1956 to 1986.
During 1986 Jackson’s son, Warren Stephens, took over the position as CEO.
The company employs more than 700 people and owns Wal-Mart. It currently has 24 offices globally and is, among others, active in IPOs, mergers and acquisitions.
Barclays Investment Bank
The investment banking division of Barclays Bank is called Barclays Capital. It has a typical investment bank business model and provides institutional clients, governments and large corporations with a full range of services including risk management, financing and advisory.
The company has offices in all corners of the world and employs more than 25,000 people.
Jefferies Investment Bank
Jefferies and Company Inc is an international investment bank and institutional securities company. The company provides clients with financial advisory and capital markets services, securities research, institutional brokerage and asset management.
The bank is often involved with mergers and acquisitions. It also offers research into and the buying and selling of fixed income securities and equity linked securities.
The company’s head offices are in New York City. It has 25 other offices throughout the US and a number of international offices including in Frankfurt, London, Hong Kong, Zurich, Shanghai, Singapore and Mumbai.