What it takes to make it to the top in investment banking

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It's been all change at the top with the M&A divisions of a lot of large investment banks in the past few weeks. Barclays, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan have all shaken up their senior ranks. What do these appointments tell you about what it takes to get to the top?

Well, for a start, the new appointments scupper any suggestion that investment banking is solely the preserve of people under 40. All the new heads of M&A are over 40 and the oldest - Michael Carr, recently installed as co-head of global M&A at Goldman Sachs along with Gilberto Pozzi and Greg Lemkau, is 57. What's more, loyalty is (eventually) rewarded - most new appointments had been with their existing employee for decades and the majority only have one previous employer. Larry Hamdan, the recently installed head of M&A for Americas at Barclays, has only been with the bank for five years, but before that he spent 21 years at Credit Suisse. Job-hopping in M&A doesn't do you any favours.

Below is a representation of the unifying features of the recent senior M&A appointments. As a recap, this is based on ten individuals - Carr, Pozzi and Lemkau at Goldman; Anu Aiyengar and Henry Gosebruch, co-heads of M&A for Americas at J.P. Morgan and David Lomer and Dirk Albersmeier, who lead its EMEA business; Robin Ramkin and Greg Weinberger who co-head Credit Suisse's M&A division and Hamdan at Barclays.


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