The new breed
What are the defining traits that good investment bankers share? Energy, creativity, entrepreneurship, willingness and ability to take risk, the strength of intelligence to form independent views of the world and the courage to back them: all traits that tend to be driven out of people when they become institutionalized within large organizations under cynical leaders. Everyone toiling at the coalface in a large bank should take lessons from the stories that follow of those who have quit to set up on their own. There's never been a better time to do it.
Schadenfreude greeted the demise earlier this year of Violy Byorum & Partners. Founder Violy McCausland's uncompromising style had irked those inside and outside the firm. Now she's trying again, this time on her own.
Start-up corporate finance and risk management advisers have a simple message: Trust us, we're independent. Risk Capital Management Partners boss David Shimko says he tells his clients exactly how the big banks profit from their own advice. Hill Street Capital combines M&A advice with speedy lending decisions. Integrated Finance asks to get paid only what the clients think its advice is worth. New Smith Capital has attracted some big hitters from Merrill Lynch to help build its advisory business. City Capital Corporation may be small, but it can be more nimble. And Oriel Securities is learning how to woo new clients.
Senior staff at Bedlam Asset Management are not paying themselves until they hit their own performance targets. OneWorld Securities saw the 1998 Russian default as the best time to set up a hedge fund.