Evercore Likens Hiring Must-Have Bankers to Buying Best Neckties

  • Evercore is having a record year for hiring, promoting bankers
  • Schlosstein cites S.G. Warburg in strategy for luring talent

Evercore Partners Inc. Chief Executive Officer Ralph Schlosstein said when he sees a banker with a proven track record, his instinct is to bring the dealmaker on board even if there isn’t a job opening.

“Great bankers will figure out a way to make money,” Schlosstein said Tuesday during a conference hosted by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. “I once read a really great quote from Siegmund Warburg, and he was asked, how did he have so many great bankers at S.G. Warburg. And he said, ‘It’s very simple. I look at a great banker the way I look at a nice tie. If I see it, I buy it whether I need it or not.”’

Evercore is having a record year for hiring, and has also promoted the most bankers in its almost 20-year history, Schlosstein said. That includes adding Goldman Sachs’s Bill Anderson for activism defense and Laurie Coben from Bank of America Corp. to focus on power and utilities. Evercore also hired Lazard Ltd.’s Daniel Aronson for restructuring, an area where Schlosstein said his bank is better positioned than larger rivals.

“We have a benefit that you at Goldman Sachs don’t have, and that’s when things get a little tougher, we have a restructuring business,” Schlosstein said. Restructuring work generally picks up during economic slumps when there might be fewer banking opportunities tied to mergers and acquisitions. “One of the things that we can say to high-talent bankers is, ‘there’s more that you can do here in a down cycle.”’

Wildcatting in Texas

Schlosstein has focused many of his remarks this year on his hiring ambitions, often using colorful language. He said in July that the search for dealmakers was a bit like wildcatting in Texas, where you can explore many dry holes before hitting an active oil well.

Evercore shares have climbed 6.7 percent this year through Monday, beating a 0.9 percent climb in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Schlosstein said 2016 could be a “rare year” where investment banks will benefit from advising on both M&A and restructuring deals, as he also seeks to boost fees from advising on equity capital markets transactions.

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