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The Top 50 Investment Banking Firm Rankings for 2020

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On Tuesday, January 28, Vault.com released its annual Banking 50, a ranking of the best investment banking firms to work for in North America. This year the ranking is based on a survey of 3,300 banking professionals, who were asked to rate their firms in several workplace categories, including compensation, culture, hours, training, work/life balance, business outlook, and more. They were also asked to rate firms other than their own in terms of prestige. Here are some headlines:

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  • Centerview Partners takes the No. 1 spot in the Banking 50 for the first time in the history of the rankings, becoming the “Best Investment Banking Firm to Work For” this year. Centerview also ranks No. 1 in 13 workplace categories, including Compensation, Culture, and Work/Life Balance.
  • Evercore again ranks No. 2 in the Banking 50 and No. 4 in Prestige, and ranks No. 1 in Diversity for Women.
  • Goldman Sachs falls from No. 1 to No. 3 in the Banking 50 but remains No. 1 in Prestige, so is still the “Most Prestigious Investment Banking Firm to Work For.”
  • Guggenheim Securities rises three places to rank No. 5 in the Vault Banking 50 and ranks No. 1 in Benefits.
  • Bank of America jumps three places to No. 6 in the Banking 50, and ranks No. 1 in Overall Diversity, Minority Diversity, and LGBT Diversity.

2020 Centerview Takes No. 1 Spot For First Time In Latest Vault Banking 50 Rankings

Evercore Remains No. 2 In Banking 50 And Ranks No. 1 In Female Diversity; Guggenheim Securities And Bank Of America Rise Significantly In The Rankings

New York, NY, (January 28, 2020) Vault.com releases its Banking 50 Rankings for 2020, with Centerview Partners ranking as the best investment banking firm to work for. It’s the first time in the history of the Banking 50 that Centerview takes the top spot. Ranking No. 3 last year, New York-based Centerview leaps two places, jumping over Goldman Sachs and Evercore, to rank No. 1.

Meanwhile, Evercore remains No. 2, and Goldman Sachs slips two spots to No. 3. Rounding out the top five of the Banking 50 are Morgan Stanley, which holds steady at No. 4, and Guggenheim Securities, which jumps three places to No. 5.

The rankings are derived from Vault’s annual Banking Survey. Conducted in the fall of 2019, the survey asked 3,300 banking professionals of all levels to assess their peer firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on prestige (they were unable to rate their own firm and asked to rate only firms with which they were familiar). They were also asked to rate their own firm in various quality of life categories, including compensation, hours, firm culture, business outlook, training, work/life balance, and overall job satisfaction. A weighted formula, which includes external prestige scores and internal quality of life scores, was applied to this data to create the Banking 50.

The 10 Best Investment Banks to Work For Based on Vault’s Annual Banking Survey Are:

  1. Centerview Partners
  2. Evercore
  3. Goldman Sachs
  4. Morgan Stanley
  5. Guggenheim Securities
  6. Bank of America
  7. Lazard (tie)
  8. Perella Weinberg Partners (tie)
  9. PJT Partners
  10. Moelis & Company

No. 1 Centerview Offers "Great Opportunities for Advancement and Development"

In addition to ranking No. 1 in the Banking 50, Centerview dominates our Quality of Life Rankings this year, ranking No. 1 in 13 workplace categories: Ability to Challenge, Business Outlook, Client Interaction, Compensation, Culture, Firm Leadership, Formal Training, Hiring Process, Informal Training, Promotion Policies, Overall Satisfaction, Relationships with Managers, and Work/Life Balance. The firm also ranks No. 5 in our Prestige Rankings, with bankers at peer firms calling Centerview “the premier boutique,” with the “sharpest people and best pay on Wall Street.” It’s “the hardest investment banking job to get.”

Meanwhile, Centerview professionals tell us that the firm offers “great opportunities for advancement and development”—“you work on the largest and most complex and interesting deals on the Street” with “talented, good-natured, extremely bright, collegial people.” And “there’s no other shop on the Street where you’re compensated on par with and sometimes better than the buyside.”

According to Vault’s Senior Finance Editor Derek Loosvelt, “Centerview has been a firm on the rise for many years. It’s long been known to offer the best compensation packages on the Street, and each year it’s been landing larger and larger advisory transactions. That increase in average deal size, which has significantly boosted its prestige, along with its improving culture and top compensation put it over the top this year, and it edged out Evercore to take the No. 1 spot in our rankings.”

No. 2 Evercore Has an "Excellent Culture and Supportive, Smart Colleagues"

Evercore again ranks No. 2 in the Banking 50, this year barely losing out to Centerview—less than 1 percentage point separates the two firms’ raw scores. Evercore also hangs onto its No. 4 ranking in Prestige. In addition, it ranks No. 1 in Diversity for Women, and places among the top three firms in three other Diversity categories as well as eight workplaces categories, including Business Outlook, Firm Leadership, Formal Training, Promotion Policies, and Overall Satisfaction.

Peer bankers call Evercore an “industry leader,” with “top-of-the-Street compensation and talent.” Meanwhile, Evercore insiders tell us the firm has an “excellent culture and supportive, smart colleagues,” and offers “great deal experience and training.” Insiders also say it offers “unlimited exit opportunities due to the firm’s prestige” and “many opportunities to build a professional network in the industries we cover.” At Evercore, “you’re able to actively pursue opportunities where you have strengths.”

No. 3 Goldman Is Still the "Gold Standard"

After holding the top spot in the Banking 50 for three straight years, Goldman Sachs slips to No. 3. But it remains No. 1 in Prestige, and so is still considered the “most prestigious investment banking firm to work for.” Peer bankers call Goldman “the Gold Standard,” “the best global bank,” “highly respected,” and “very well managed,” with “excellent M&A and restructuring practices.” Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs insiders say at Goldman you “work with the best in the business—intelligent, talented, driven, ambitious colleagues.” Insiders also laud the “amazing teamwork culture,” “good pay,” and, of course, “prestigious brand name.”

No. 4 Morgan Stanley Offers "Great Exposure to Senior Bankers and a Lot of Responsibility"

Morgan Stanley holds onto its No. 4 ranking in the Banking 50 and its No. 2 ranking in Prestige. This year, Morgan Stanley insiders tells us that the best aspects of working for the firm include “the great people and culture—you work with intelligent individuals who all strive for excellence”; the “personal and career growth—great exposure to seniors and you’re given a lot of responsibility and are constantly challenged”; and the “the prestige.” Meanwhile, bankers at peer firms say Morgan Stanley is “very good in M&A” and has “excellent internet and e-commerce coverage.” It’s a “staple in the industry” and “seems to be the hungriest of all.”

No. 5 Guggenheim Securities Is a "Firm on the Rise"

This year, Guggenheim Securities jumps an impressive three places in the Banking 50 to take the No. 5 spot. The firm also ranks No. 1 in Benefits, and places among the top three firms in nine other workplace categories, including Business Outlook, Compensation, Culture, Overall Satisfaction, and Relationships with Managers. Peer bankers call Guggenheim “a firm on the rise” and the “best in media and entertainment.” Meanwhile, firm insiders say that the best parts about working at Guggenheim Securities include the “great people and culture,” “great comp,” and “strong deal flow”—“you get a lot of significant deal experience and a lot of responsibility.”

No. 6 Bank of America Is "Making Huge Strides in Diversity"

Bank of America leaps to No. 6 in the Vault 50 this year, after ranking No. 9 last year. It also again nearly sweeps the Diversity Rankings, ranking No. 1 in three out of four Diversity categories: Overall Diversity, LGBTQ Diversity, and Minority Diversity. It also ranks No. 2 in Diversity for Women and No. 1 in CSR Initiatives. According to peer bankers, this “big player” and “top-tier U.S. bank” is “making huge strides in diversity.” And according to BofA insiders, some of the best aspects about life at the firm include the “excellent teamwork culture”; “transaction experience—working with big clients on notable deals”; and “good benefits.”

View the entire Banking 50 Rankings, Prestige Rankings, Quality of Life Rankings, and Diversity Rankings.

About Vault

Vault is the most comprehensive resource for employer, university, and internship rankings, ratings, and insights. Vault’s influential rankings and reviews are sourced from directed surveys of professionals and students. These rankings and reviews evaluate companies, schools, and internships in terms of prestige, diversity, quality of life, compensation, and other categories. Vault provides users with in-depth information on employers, industries, interviews, and available jobs and internships. In addition, Vault partners with employers to help build their brands and assist with recruiting efforts, and with universities to help their students with employment placement and career selection.

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