This investment bank hires the most jocks out of college — and crushes the M&A league tables

Blair Effron, the cofounder of Centerview Partners. Screenshot/CNBC
  • The boutique investment bank Centerview Partners employs the highest percentage of former varsity athletes of any firm across Wall Street, according to a report.
  • Jocks may be drawn to Wall Street’s competitive, eat-what-you-kill culture.

It should come as little surprise that trading floors and banks are stocked with former athletes.

After all, jocks may be drawn to Wall Street’s competitive, eat-what-you-kill culture.

But the firm that recruited the most college athletes last year is not a household name. It’s a small investment bank called Centerview Partners, according to a new report by Wall Street Oasis, an online community for financial professionals. An estimated 28% of employees at Centerview classify themselves as varsity athletes, the report says.

The middle-market advisory firm Harris Williams & Co. nabbed the second spot in the ranking, and Lazard Middle Market placed third.

Wall Street Oasis crunched the data based on user submissions to its company database from 2016 to 2018.

The New York-based Centerview Partners was founded by the star bankers Blair Effron, Stephen Crawford, and Rob Pruzan in 2006. It’s often considered the premier boutique bank behind some of the biggest, most transformational mergers-and-acquisitions deals in the past year, including CVS Healthcare’s $US69 billion deal for Aetna and Disney’s agreement to buy $US71.3 billion worth of 21st Century Fox’s assets.

In the past few weeks, Centerview served as adviser to the streaming music company Pandora on its sale to the satellite radio company SiriusXM.

The bank ranked No. 11 in the league tables for announced global M&A deals in the first nine months of the year, up from the No. 20 spot last year, according to the data provider Refinitiv.

Athletes have gone on to lead big Wall Street firms over the years, including the former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack, who played football at Duke, and Guggenheim Partners’ executive chairman, Alan Schwartz, who played baseball also at Duke.

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