The 25 Best Banks To Work For

In the cutthroat world of finance, it’s often not what you do, but who you work for that matters.
Vault.com just released its annual ranking of the best banks to work for, looking at factors like culture, satisfaction, work/life balance, training, and compensation, and overall prestige.

Last year J.P. Morgan took the top spot on Vault’s list, but this year The Blackstone Group came out on top, pushing J.P. Morgan down to number three.

#25 Rothschild

2,800 employees

London headquarters

The Pros

  • 'The people, culture and firm history'
  • 'Good deal flow over the past couple years'
  • 'Broad range of projects'

The Buzz

  • 'Firm managed the downturn very well (without a single layoff)'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#24 Jefferies & Company, Inc.

3,800 employees

New York City headquarters

The Pros

  • 'The culture: everyone is young and energetic and fun; they take their work seriously but not themselves'
  • 'The deal flow and tremendous exposure to top M&A deals in the industry'
  • 'High level of client interaction'

The Cons

  • 'Hours can be demanding'
  • 'Still the underdog; working on firm reputation'
  • 'The inefficiencies in certain processes; IT and infrastructure can be frustrating'

The Buzz

  • 'Very impressive growth story; very solid in energy and health care'
  • 'Expanded too fast, damaged its reputation and created a strained working environment'
  • 'Great people and good franchise in select sectors -- the little brother to the bulge'
  • 'A tough, tough year, but may bounce back'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#23 Moelis & Company

580 employees

New York City headquarters

The Pros

  • 'A lot of deal experience for analysts'
  • 'Quality of team members'
  • 'Unique culture that encourages interaction between senior and junior bankers'

The Cons

  • 'Hours can be tough'
  • 'Highly entrepreneurial, which can be unstructured at times'
  • 'Brand is still embryonic'

The Buzz

  • 'Fastest growing bank on Wall Street; their juniors place better after two years than any other firm'
  • 'Exorbitant growth has diluted quality of bankers'
  • 'One of the top boutiques; gaining market share'
  • 'Small deal size limits prestige'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#22 Bank of America Corp.

287,839 employees

Charlotte headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Big, global bank just got a lot bigger thanks to the Merrill deal'
  • 'Generous benefits'

The Cons

  • 'Merrill acquisition = culture in flux + uncertain future'
  • 'Training could use improvement'

The Buzz

  • 'Addition of Merrill makes them more prestigious'
  • 'Has lost too many key seniors, both legacy BofA and Merrill Lynch bankers'
  • 'Big player in leveraged finance and fixed income'
  • 'n overly corporate culture, stifling'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#20 Barclays (Investment Banking)

23,000 employees

London headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Upper management is strong'

The Cons

  • 'Destructive politics'

The Buzz

  • 'The best in fixed income'
  • 'Layoffs; reducing focus on investment banking'
  • 'Up and coming; starting to make waves in the US'
  • 'Lehman integration has been challenging'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#19 SunTrust Robinson Humphrey

910 employees

Atlanta headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Great people, collegial culture'
  • 'NYC salary in Atlanta'
  • 'Given a significant amount of responsibility early on'

The Cons

  • 'Lack of prestige'
  • 'Resources aren't great'
  • 'Lateral opportunities in finance/banking in the region'

The Buzz

  • 'Good research'
  • 'They seem ok'
  • 'Regional'
  • 'Small cap'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#18 Cowen Group, Inc.

571 employees

New York City headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Great culture: small company where everyone knows each other'
  • 'Strong senior leadership'
  • 'Good work/life balance'

The Cons

  • 'Not a lot of deal flow'
  • 'Weekend work'
  • 'We never seem to have a really big revenue year'

The Buzz

  • 'Very strong health care franchise'
  • 'Middle market and middle of the road'
  • 'Good research on small- to mid-cap firms'
  • 'Mediocre'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#16 Citi Institutional Clients Group

257,000 employees

New York City headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Compensation'
  • 'Smart coworkers'
  • 'Level of responsibility'

The Cons

  • 'Hours and unpredictable schedule'
  • 'It's a large corporation, which means many levels of management'
  • 'The culture'

The Buzz

  • 'Big name'
  • 'Hiring freeze has hurt them'
  • 'Large team'
  • 'Can be broken up'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#15 RBC Capital Markets

6,700 employees

Toronto headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Great people'
  • 'Good pay'
  • 'Leader in Canada, growing rapidly in U.S.'

The Cons

  • 'Extremely rigid promotion policy'
  • 'New talent coming in leads to uncertainty'
  • 'Still relatively small compared to the top investment banks'

The Buzz

  • 'I've heard good things'
  • 'Canadian-focused'
  • 'Decent bank'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#14 Lazard

2,466 employees

New York City headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Highly prestigious firm'
  • 'Incredible deal flow -- deal exposure is unrivalled'
  • 'Fantastic exit opportunities'

The Cons

  • 'Hardest working shop on the Street -- work/life balance can be tough'
  • 'Competition among your peers'
  • 'The people'

The Buzz

  • 'One of the best on the Street'
  • 'They used to be better'
  • 'Strong team'
  • 'Tough to work there; elitist culture; not good people'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#13 Robert W. Baird & Company (Baird)

2,800 employees

Milwaukee headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Best corporate culture in investment banking'
  • 'Deal flow/market momentum'
  • 'Leadership and talent of management team'

The Cons

  • 'Hours'
  • 'Fighting against client biases to go with the bulge bracket'
  • 'Training'

The Buzz

  • 'Great research'
  • 'Regional player with some relationships'
  • 'Mid-market, Midwest-oriented'
  • 'Nice guys; rely heavily on their fleet of brokers'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#12 William Blair & Company

1,144 employees

Chicago headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Smart, hardworking, fun, good people'
  • 'Compensation -- the actual cash that ends up in your account, rather than the inflated multi-year stock deals that NYC firms are peddling -- is superior to that of similarly sized and even some of the larger firms'
  • 'Opportunity for extremely high levels of early responsibility'

The Cons

  • 'Review process and performance evaluation procedures could be structured better'
  • 'Lots of hours'
  • 'Behind the curve on internal technology and operations'

The Buzz

  • 'Best of the mid-market'
  • 'Chicago focus'
  • 'Their research is good'
  • 'For the Midwest, very interesting'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#11 Peter J. Solomon Company

71 employees

New York City headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Analysts get a lot of responsibility and direct contact with MDs'
  • 'High compensation for the hours worked'
  • 'The collegial culture'

The Cons

  • 'Exit opportunities for PE/hedge funds not as good as at bulge brackets'
  • 'Lack of a production team/not as much administrative support'
  • 'No international presence'

The Buzz

  • 'Strong boutique'
  • 'Past its prime'
  • 'Good, old school consumer shop'
  • 'Who?'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#9 Perella Weinberg Partners

400 employees

New York City headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Great work culture, great people'
  • 'Excellent deal experience'
  • 'All-cash compensation'

The Cons

  • 'Unpredictable hours'
  • 'Still relatively small platform with limited global scale'
  • 'It's a boutique so you have to pull a lot of weight'

The Buzz

  • 'Top-tier boutique'
  • 'Doing ok, but has yet to really define itself'
  • 'Up and comer'
  • 'Lack of announced deals hurts'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#8 Greenhill & Co.

324 employees

New York City headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Awesome culture'
  • 'Great exit opportunities'
  • 'Blue-chip clients and thus blue-chip transaction experience'

The Cons

  • 'Lean deal times'
  • 'Mediocre benefits'
  • 'Not as well known as some of its competitors'

The Buzz

  • 'A very good boutique'
  • 'Some people have been unhappy there compared to some peers'
  • 'Good in M&A'
  • 'Heard good things'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#7 Centerview Partners

150 employees

New York City headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Working on high-profile and challenging assignments'
  • 'Extremely competitive compensation'
  • 'Great colleagues'

The Cons

  • 'Long hours at times'
  • 'Resource constraints'
  • 'If you are positive that you want to stay in banking for one to two years and then move to PE, it's probably not the place for you'

The Buzz

  • 'These guys are on fire right now'
  • 'Small team'
  • 'Great pay, good culture, best boutique'
  • 'Newer firm, strong boutique'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#6 Morgan Stanley

55,610 employees

New York City headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Extremely intelligent and able coworkers'
  • 'Still one of the top two most prestigious places to work on Wall Street'
  • 'Great culture with emphasis on teamwork'

The Cons

  • 'Work/life imbalance'
  • 'Deferred compensation'
  • 'Unpredictable hours'

The Buzz

  • 'The best bulge-bracket bank -- just as solid of an environment to learn as Goldman, with much better culture and people'
  • 'They are great, but you need to be in M&A to get the best experience'
  • 'Made out like bandits on the Smith Barney deal; investment bank remains strong'
  • 'Have lost their luster following the crash and are in search of an identity'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#5 Evercore Partners

800 employees

New York City headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Excellent working environment'
  • 'Significant amount of responsibility on landmark deals'
  • 'Exposure to senior bankers and clients is unrivalled for junior- and mid-level employees'

The Cons

  • 'Hours are really bad as a result of heavy deal flow and lean deal teams'
  • 'Not the strongest back-office support'
  • 'Lacks organisation/structure'

The Buzz

  • 'One of the big winners -- has outpaced established players like Lazard and Rothschild'
  • 'Solid deal flow, but does a lot of co-advisor transactions'
  • 'Boutiques are where the action is, and Evercore continues to be a leader'
  • 'Great deal flow, very strong presence in the market, but tough working environment'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#4 Houlihan Lokey

900 employees

Los Angeles headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Fantastic colleagues'
  • 'Collegial atmosphere'
  • 'Great deal experience'

The Cons

  • 'Sometimes the hours can be long or unpredictable'
  • 'Lack of recognition for certain groups'
  • 'Not as many perks'

The Buzz

  • 'Middle-market powerhouse'
  • 'They do a lot of fairness opinions'
  • 'Strong restructuring group'
  • 'Not that prestigious, but a very good, solid firm'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#3 J.P. Morgan Investment Bank

240,000 employees

New York City headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Great people who work hard and with each other'
  • 'Very inclusive and respectful culture'
  • 'Committed to developing junior talent'

The Cons

  • 'Long hours and demanding schedule'
  • 'Large firm that can be a bit too large at times'
  • 'Never being disconnected from work or the markets'

The Buzz

  • 'At the top of its game -- and perhaps at the top of the game'
  • 'Good bank, but leads with its balance sheet'
  • 'Ascendant among the big banks; seems to have the magic formula'
  • 'Big but not brilliant'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#2 Goldman Sachs & Co.

32,400 employees

New York City headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Strength and calibre of colleagues; working with very talented, driven people'
  • 'We work on the most innovative and exciting transactions in the industry'
  • 'Outstanding culture, which rewards teamwork and collaboration'

The Cons

  • 'Work hours are demanding -- 24/7 commitment'
  • 'Type-A culture can mean overly-competitive colleagues'
  • 'Pay has been subpar in recent years'

The Buzz

  • 'Still the best'
  • 'Ongoing conflicts of interest and bad press seriously damaged its reputation'
  • 'Platinum-rated in financial services'
  • 'Lost some appeal and status by focusing on bottom line and not enough on customers and employees'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

#1 The Blackstone Group

1,820 employees

New York City headquarters

The Pros

  • 'Great learning experience, work is very interesting; you frequently work on extremely complex deals'
  • 'Culture of excellence'
  • 'Incredible colleagues'

The Cons

  • 'Never a minute of downtime'
  • 'Smaller firm means fewer resources'
  • 'Certain groups can be less friendly with respect to work/life balance'

The Buzz

  • 'Very prestigious and intelligent'
  • 'Overrated'
  • 'Strong restructuring and M&A groups; excellent private equity group'
  • 'Sweatshop reputation'

Read the full report at Vault.

Vault's ranking is based on a weighted formula of responses from about 3,500 banking professionals who rated banking firms on prestige, firm culture, work-life balance, compensation, business outlook, and overall satisfaction. With their permission, we've highlighted the top 25 firms here.

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