Thursday, June 28, 2007
On the heels of the handwringing on the plight of today's investment banker in Jonathan Knee's the Accidental Investment Banker, William Cohan has an op-ed in today's Financial Times entitled Shed no Tears for the Legendary Wall Street Banker. Cohan, who authored The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co., writes:
So how are all those overpaid and overworked M&A bankers feeling these days? Not so great, in fact. At the very same moment when they have never been busier - flying round the world in private jets to attend infinitely ponderous and desperately important meetings - M&A advisory revenue has never been more irrelevant to their firms' bottom lines.
He goes on to make the now common observation about the demise of brand-name bankers and the rise of private equity as a force minimizing the need for M&A bankers. And he quotes one corporate lawyer as stating that "Bankers are [now] sitting in coach." Well, there is schadenfraude for you.
But the thing that caught my eye is the common-theme complaint here about advances, technology etc. making the traditional role of M&A investment banker less relevant and the need for reinvention. Well, I think the foregoing need is one that every white collar worker today has to deal with. Blue collar workers are in a worse position as they find it harder to reinvent themselves. Welcome to the real world M&A bankers.