Rainmakers quit investment banking gigs for greener pastures

After nearly a decade and a half in investment banking and a glamorous career securing deals with some of the biggest global and Indian banks, Harsh Soni decided to transition into a startup, driven by a “desire to work on something closer to consumers and an opportunity to build something new”.

Last May, Soni joined Slice as head of corporate development, responsible for leading the fintech startup’s strategic efforts, investor relations and corporate finance.

“While i-banking as a career offers a steep learning curve and a well-defined career path, it is a high-pressure job that may not be viable in the long term for everyone,” says Soni . That aside, there’s that rut of repetitive, monotonous work that people might fall into. “Tech startups in particular are filling that void – leveraging cutting-edge technology to solve the most pressing problems, not to mention potentially endless upside.”

Soni, who moved to Slice from Bank of America, isn’t the only one making this transition. The glitzy world of investment banking seems to be losing its magic for many bankers. Despite big bonuses and a host of IPOs and M&A deals over the past year, many bankers are losing interest in high-growth or new-era companies in strategy, mergers and acquisitions and corporate development.

Of the 150 mid-to-senior level moves in investment banking in the past six months, about 52% left the industry to join other fields, exclusive data from executive search firm Native shows. About 74% of turnover occurred at domestic banks and financial services institutions. Data from the past two years across major global online banks also shows that exits are more than double compared to lateral hires.

A significant increase in opportunities in large Indian companies and the scale of wealth creation in startups in the form of hefty stock options are attracting rainmakers.

Break the monotony

That aside, while banking has always been a very stressful job, the last two years of the pandemic – which has seen deal-making at an all-time high – have made it harder for many to find work-life balance. and privacy, leading to a huge increase in stress and prompting many bankers to make the switch.

Major recent moves include Chirag Jain, who joined Reliance Industries from Bank of America; Puneet Gulati, head of mergers and acquisitions at Piramal Enterprises, who left JM Financial; Naveen Sachdeva, who joined MobiKwik from JM Financial; Dinesh Taluja, who joined Reliance Retail in corporate finance and M&A from Credit Suisse; Raj Rathi, who joined Dream Capital, the venture capital and M&A arm of Dream Sports, from JP Morgan; and Shashank More, which switched to Morgan Stanley’s Jio platforms, according to data compiled by Native.

“While many IB platforms have released terrific ratings backed by a phenomenal year in business, IB has become a rung for many junior bankers to transition to the buy side and for mid-to-senior bankers to transition into roles business,” said Ruchi Thakkar. , Head – Capital Markets, at Native.

“Bankers are largely drawn to established companies or startups because of the pressure of year-to-year revenue targets. Another key reason is also the boredom of doing the same thing for a decade and the desire to spend to differentiated roles,” she said.

Focus on expertise

Large Indian corporations and conglomerates are also growing in terms of size and offer a plethora of opportunities in investor relations and strategic mergers and acquisitions which require the expertise and insight of bankers who have been involved in major deals. fame.

“The amount of fundraising in large Indian companies has increased significantly and we are looking to hire bankers who have been involved in large transactions,” said Pramod Menon, group finance director at RPG Enterprises. “Big companies can offer them a more stable ecosystem, empowerment for decision-making, decent pay and a reasonably broad canvas, while on the banking side the burnout is much more.”