If you’re interested in a career in investment banking, then you may have visions of working on mega M&A deals that shift the fortunes of whole economies.
While this is a small part of investment banking, the reality is that most investment bankers – especially at the Analyst and Associate levels – are more like junior real estate agents who work behind the scenes on the grunt work in order to help the head agent (typically a Managing Director) close the deal and claim the glory.
And a big part of that is producing standardized documents and other work product to help support deals and projects. That’s what we’ll cover in this article.
To understand what bankers do at different levels of the organisation, check out our full article on the Investment Banking Career Path.
As in many professions, the job starts out relatively mundane and repetitive. As you advance up the hierarchy, the work becomes more interesting and relationship-oriented, as opposed to merely churning out endless slide decks and Excel models.
No discussion of investment banking deliverables would be complete without talking about pitch books.
Pitch books refer to sales presentations that a bank uses to persuade a client or potential client to take action and pay for the bank’s services. Pitch books typically contain sections on the merits of the transaction; analysis of potential buyers or sellers; pricing and valuation information; as well as key risks to mitigate.
As an Analyst in particular, you’ll be spending a LOT of time creating these, so we recommend you check out our full article on Pitch Book Design, Examples and Templates.
You may wish to also hone some ninja-level PowerPoint skills via our PowerPoint Pro course. You’re going to need them.
The Confidential Information Memorandum is part of the sell-side M&A process at investment banks.
At the beginning of any sell-side M&A process, you’ll gather information on your client (the company that has hired you to sell it), including its products and services, financials, and market.
You turn this information into many documents, including a shorter, 5-10 page “Executive Summary” and then a more in-depth, 50+ page “Confidential Information Memorandum.”
You will spend a lot of time writing CIMs as an analyst or associate in investment banking.
And in buy-side roles, you will spend a lot of time reading CIMs and deciding which opportunities are worth pursuing.
A “Fairness Opinion” is just a detailed valuation of a company that’s being sold (if you’re representing the seller) or a valuation of the company that your client is buying.
Right before a deal is announced, the bank that prepares the Opinion presents it to the Board of Directors and concludes whether or not the deal is “fair” based on the purchase price and deal structure.
As you might guess, banks never say a deal is “unfair” – the Opinion is just a rubber stamp to justify the deal to investors.
While they’re not technically required by law, Fairness Opinions almost always get issued for deals that involve the sale of public companies due to lawsuits: no matter how much a company sells for, someone is bound to sue them.
As you’ll most probably be asked to help out with Fairness Opinions from time to time, it’s worth checking out our full guide to Investment Banking Fairness Opinions.
The Definitive Agreement is known by many other names, including “stock purchase agreement” and “definitive merger agreement”.
But it does the same thing in each case: it spells out the finalized deal terms that the buyer and seller are agreeing to.
Unlike a “Letter of Intent” (LOI), which is a preliminary document potential buyers might send over when thinking about buying a company, the Definitive Agreement is… definitive. Final. The end.
You’re likely to spend some of your time on financial modeling and valuation using Excel.
In less technical groups, such as Equity Capital Markets, you’ll spend even less time in Excel, and in more technical groups, such as Restructuring, you might spend closer to 40-50% of your time on technical tasks.
Almost all the dealmaking and rainmaking that happens in investment banking is done at the Senior Vice President and Managing Director levels (and above).
Winning investment banking clients requires a combination of solid interpersonal and salesmanship skills, combined with deep industry knowledge and a rolodex of contacts cultivated over many years.
While the work when you start out as an investment banker is somewhat mundane and repetitive, banks expect new hires to be able to get it done quickly, accurately and in large quantities.
Some of the courses that will prepare you to be a good analyst, worthy of promotion, include:
Completing these courses will help you add value right from your very first day as an investment banker.