The trending technology transaction market is driving the demand for industry-focused investment bankers. Raymond James takes a long-term approach to hiring practices regardless of the market cycle. “We’ve been around long enough to see hot markets followed by downturns, so we try to be careful not to over-hire or just hire agencies to execute on-going trades,” said Brendan Ryan, co-head of technology and services at Raymond James, in this Q&A with Mergers and Acquisitions. Jim Bunn, chairman of Raymond James Global Equity and Investment Banking, also told us about the company’s recruitment initiatives in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.
What is driving the rise in technological offers?
Several factors are contributing to the rise in technology transactions. First, strategic firms and private equity firms are teeming with cash that had built up before and during Covid, so when Covid slowed down / halted trading activity, there was pent-up demand that we started to see. return to the fourth quarter of 2020 and continued into 2021. At the onset of the pandemic, market uncertainty forced many people not to make important decisions. In the tech realm in particular, so many companies have taken the wind in the sails of Covid and thrived as the go virtual has rapidly advanced many years of digital / e-commerce / software adoption into a compressed time frame, fueling a great acceleration in growth that sparked interest. buyers at all levels. We see private equity firms that have only gotten into tech launch specific tech funds and aggressively sue those firms for their portfolios. We also hear of companies exploring a sale given recent activity in the PSPC market leading to high valuations as well as others trying to anticipate any future changes in tax policy.
How is the rise in tech deals affecting investment banks and your recruiting practices in 2021?
We aim to keep a long-term perspective on the market when developing our recruiting strategy. To be honest it has been very difficult with all of the transaction activity and our strategy is challenged every day as we try to balance the reaction to an overwhelming number of high quality companies reaching out to us to present. our services with what we can realistically undertake. as a cohesive team and always deliver the best possible results for our clients. Our goal is always to be the leading investment banking platform in the Middle Market Technology & Services space. We hire people who are passionate about delivering results for our clients and who want to be part of our growth momentum and help us achieve our long-term goals. We’ve been around long enough to see hot markets followed by downturns, so we try to be careful not to over-hire or just hire organizations to execute on-going trades. It’s no fun having to remove strong people from a team due to an economic downturn, so we’re careful to involve people who we think fit our strategic goals.
That said, we made several strategic hires this year which helped us ensure that we can maintain the right level of customer service and also focus on capturing new business opportunities, but we were already on a growth trajectory, we had therefore planned these hires. pre-pandemic. We have also seen some of what happened in all industries during Covid and have experienced unexpected attrition as people leave the bank for other activities or move to different cities where we do not focus on the building a presence, so of course we’ve been replacing those bankers and we’re fortunate to have been able to hire some great talent.
What skills and training are you looking for in technology bankers?
We offer a client-centric, results-driven, collaborative and empowering platform. While sales-side M&A experience and industry expertise are useful assessment metrics for us when considering the addition of a senior banker, we are also looking for people who are motivated to succeed, entrepreneurial, collaborative. and who maintain our same customer-centric mindset.
Mentorship is an important foundation for our group’s success. We are proud that many of our senior bankers have been with us for some time. So we’re also looking for people who are committed to mentoring the next generation of investment bankers.
For our junior bankers, it’s all about the attitude, energy and professionalism they bring to everyday life. Of course, it will be very helpful for them to take an interest in capital markets and the tech industry, but the most successful bankers on our team have great work ethics and maintain a positive attitude every day, even when these days. seem to blend in with each other. We are so proud of our team and how they perform in such a challenging environment, and of those who remember RJTS’s long term goal and reach out to their colleagues to “introduce themselves”, either virtually or in person. for their team, really only uplifts us one day at a time. We want to hire more people who will add to our culture in this way.
Tell us about your hiring / recruiting process.
We will always review the interest in our roles at all levels, but we also try to make regular contacts to identify and attract talent to our team. Within the Technical and Services team, we have dedicated team members with banking experience who support RJ Corporate recruiting to ensure an efficient hiring process. They are both extremely valuable in ensuring that our candidates are talking to the right people at the right time and making decisions to ensure the hiring process runs in a timely manner.
How do you attract technology bankers to Raymond James?
We are fortunate that the continued growth and success of our platform has prompted many talents to explore opportunities at RJTS. We strive to be on the forefront of how we do our business, have an open door policy and want to regularly hear from bankers of all levels about how we do business. This thirst for innovation and collaboration often attracts people who are looking for a platform where they can actively contribute to our team’s success fairly immediately – they usually work on a live deal almost on day one! – so we offer a great experience.
We also encourage our junior bankers to step in, take ownership and be really closely involved with our clients and promote a culture that incredibly supports our bankers during their time at RJ. For our Junior Bankers looking to gain great skills and experience that they may wish to transfer to other opportunities outside of M&A, we provide great exit opportunities, mentorship and introductions and have helped to place analysts and associates in major roles after they have been with us. Of course, we would like many of them to stay and become senior bankers, but we recognize that this way of life is not for everyone, so try to be united as we can. When it comes to this banking lifestyle, we are also committed to finding solutions that promote a better work-life balance than what the industry typically offers and, for example, have weekends. really protected – which are not every weekend – and vacation weeks, which offer a real chance to unplug.
Bunn on the company’s DCI hiring initiatives:
How much effort is Raymond James making to hire diverse candidates for tech banker positions?
We strongly believe in building a diverse workforce and creating an inclusive work environment. Our Global Equity and Investment Banking (GEIB) group has a Diversity and Inclusion Committee that is actively working to make this happen, and we are proud to have a Technology and Services Banker, who participates in the recruitment of technological bankers. levels, as co-chair of the board. This summer and fall, we plan to offer unconscious bias training to our entire technical and service team. Many of our GEIB recruiting managers have already taken the training, which is an important part of having an inclusive recruiting process. In addition to our traditional recruiting efforts, we have created our own talent pools for emerging and second career professionals, and opportunities for support staff to move into new roles within the company, such as our global equity and investment banking internship initiatives. We also have partnerships with exceptional organizations that foster diversity and work on exciting initiatives to support diverse employees once they join our team.