Best Investment Banks To Work For In 2024


Overall, Evercore gained over .10 of an index point in the Vault Banking 25 – with 3rd-ranked Moelis & Company losing .15 of a point over the previous year. Ranked as the #1 investment bank for military veterans, Moelis & Company ranked 2nd in eight Work-Life dimensions (and 3rd through 5th in another nine dimensions. Why does Moelis rank behind Evercore? Simple: Evercore scored a full point above Moelis & Company when it comes to Prestige, which carries a 40% weight.

Regardless, the Vault survey results undercut the narrative that Moelis is a glorified “sweat shop” writes one respondent. “The firm does a great job at offering vacation time and granting personal time requests. They care about us as people which is a huge benefit in my opinion. Alongside that, they do a great job of organizing group/team-building outings and activities. It is a lot of hard work, but the rewards are a great incentive to work a long day.”

More than that, adds another survey-taker, the work done at the firm actually matters. “You work a lot at Moelis, but it’s mostly on live, real deals. It’s not a bunch of high-level coverage work that (seems to) go nowhere, as my friends from other banks tell me. In a couple of years, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a variety of deals across media/entertainment and consumer, and given the extensive workload, I’ve been able to develop quickly and feel much more confident than I ever did before. I’m learning every day and am ready to take on new challenges as I work towards becoming a VP.”

Another Vault respondent publicized how Moelis continued adding talent even during a “slower” 2023. At the same time, the firm boosted its capabilities in tech and capital markets, while adding a CleanTech platform. Call it a reflection of the founder’s optimism, which sets the tone and the bar for the rest of the firm.

“Ken Moelis leads from the front,” observes one respondent. “He’s always upbeat and takes advantage of downturns in the market with strategic hires. Overall, our leaders are very capable, smart, and driven. I’m confident the firm will continue to thrive.”


Looking at the Top 10, the Vault Banking 25 experienced some noticeable shifts. Morgan Stanley dropped from 4th to 6th compared to the previous year. PJT Partners, Perella Weinberg Partners, and Greenhill & Company each lost a spot to rank 7th through 9th this year. In contrast, Harris Williams gained two places to rank 10th, while William Blair lost two spots to finish 11th.

Notably, Harris Williams ranked among the five-best in eight dimensions, including 1st for Client Interaction. Plus, it posted the 2nd-best scores for Military Veterans The firm’s downfall? It finished 26th in Prestige. Despite this, it is definitely a firm to watch according to Derek Loosvelt, Vault’s editorial director, in a Thursday interview with Poets&Quants.

“Harris Williams is an up-and-comer in investment banking. It’s been receiving rave reviews from insiders the past few years in most workplace categories that our survey covers, and its name is getting more widely-known. This year, bankers at peer firms say it’s a “good sell-side shop” with a “very chill Southern culture,” adding that the firm’s bankers “work hard” but are “down-to-earth.” And we actually think No. 26 in Prestige is quite impressive given Harris Williams’ relatively young age and relatively small size compared to a lot of its banking peers. Consider that, in Prestige this year, it outranked all of these massive, global firms: Deutsche Bank, HSBC, BNP Paribas, Nomura, and SocGen. It also outranked some very well-known smaller banks, including Raymond James, Baird, Solomon Partners, and TD Cowen.”

Goldman Sachs headquarters in New York City


The most significant move came from Guggenheim Securities, which rose from 8th to 5th. Loop Capital Markets, the United States’ largest minority-owned investment bank, ranked 1st for Racial and Ethnic Diversity and moved from 14th to 18th overall. Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan each gained three spots to rank 16th and 17th respectively. Four firms – Qatalyst Partners, Citi, Jefferies & Company, and Barclays – each lost four spots to rank 19th through 22nd respectively. Rothschild & Company and Allen & Company debuted at 23rd and 24th respectively, while Houlihan Lokey tumbled from 11th to 25th. The latter was due to lacking the necessary number of employee survey responses – a fate it shared with banks like Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan.

Extending out two years, Centerview Partners and Evercore have improved their scores by .193 and .081 of a point respectively in the Banking 25. In contrast, Solomon Brothers and T.D. Cowan lost .665 and .350 of a point respectively.

Despite this, these firms did make the final ranking due to responses from rival bankers who participated in the Vault Banking 25. These respondents gave Goldman Sachs the highest score in Prestige – 8.665 – which is over .3 of a point lower than its scores two years ago. On the plus side, notes one Goldman Sachs respondent, the firm has taken pains to ensure work-life balance, including “no shaming in taking vacation days.” Still, Goldman Sachs “runs very lean,” the same employee – creating “little downtime” and “always a sense of urgency.”

“They prompt us to take time off and limit our hours, but the workload and level of client service we provide don’t allow for this,” adds another survey-taker. “The firm has tried multiple times to solve this using technology or restructuring departments, but it’s really a manpower issue. The people I work with truly want me to have my vacation days to myself—they make a great effort not to bother me while on vacation.”


Just .033 of a point separated Morgan Stanley from J.P. Morgan for the 2nd spot when it comes to Prestige. The former boasts a wide range of revenue streams, with a deep footprint in the institutional space. According to recent Vault surveys, Morgan Stanley is placing greater emphasis on employee health. This can range from on-site yoga classes to increased health coverage for fertility options – and much more.

“Free virtual therapy, free Headspace membership, on-site gym and discounted memberships at other gyms, on-site medical professionals, and health-conscious options at the cafeteria,” according to one survey respondent. “The firm is dedicated to wellness and has shown it in recent years.”

J.P. Morgan is renowned for its size – think 250,000 employees –and versatility. The ‘Swiss knife of banks,” J.P. Morgan is helmed by Jamie Dimon, perhaps the most respected CEO in the world. Still, the firm’s biggest advantage, survey respondents say, is its flexibility. Due to the various business lines within J.P. Morgan, talent can join different groups or functions when they are ready to tackle something new. In fact, management welcomes it.

“I’ve been at several banks on Wall Street, and J.P. Morgan has the best/most organized training of junior staff,” observes one survey respondent. “J.P. Morgan is also a big firm, and I’ve seen employees transition from one part of the bank to another (especially if you do a solid job and have a good internal rating on performance reviews and the support of your manager). Moving within the bank to pursue an opportunity outside of your line of business is not an impossible task.”


While the big names have retained their reputations, prestige is seemingly declining in banking. Among the 25 highest-ranked firms for prestige, 21 firms received a lower score than the previous year. This included LionTree Advisors (-.429), Greenhill & Company (-.389), Morgan Stanley (-.289), and Perella Weinberg (-.259). Similarly, UBS has lost .351 of a point in prestige over that same period, while Centerview Partners has gained .352 of a point.

Looking back to 2023, Vault also found some dissatisfaction among elite banking’s ranks. Survey respondents’ satisfaction with Compensation fell by 4 percent, which was nearly matched by a 3 point drop in satisfaction with Benefits. As a whole, according to the Vault Banking 50 press release, prospects have improved in investment banking in recent years.

“These results perhaps underscore the difficult deal markets Wall Street firms faced in 2023—global M&A deal volume dropped by 17 percent to $2.9 trillion, its lowest value since 2013. On the plus side, over the five-year period from 2019 through 2023, Satisfaction with Compensation increased by 1.4 percent. Meanwhile, over the same period, Satisfaction with Benefits increased 3.5 percent.”


What’s on the horizon for banking in 2024? Vault’s Derek Loosvelt lists three firms on the rise in the coming year: Evercore, Guggenheim Securities, and Perella Weinberg.

“This year, all three saw their rankings rise pretty significantly in all of these workplace categories: Business Outlook, Compensation, Firm Leadership, Internal Mobility, International Opportunities, and Wellness,” Loosvelt tells P&Q. “In addition, Evercore jumped four places to No. 3 in Quality of Work. Guggenheim rose an impressive six places to No. 3 in Work/Life Balance. And Perella Weinberg rose three places to rank No. 3 in Benefits. Given that all these banks are performing well financially, and that markets are expected to improve in 2024, I’d watch for these firms to rise even further in our rankings next year.”

When it comes to larger trends, Loosvelt points to a return in deal markets in the coming year, particularly in mergers and acquisitions.

“Given that inflation is easing, interest rates are no longer rising, and equity markets are strong, 2024 is poised to be a good year for advisory work on Wall Street. And, of course, an uptick in advisory work means larger bottom lines at banks and thus larger compensation packages for banking professionals. [This] could very well translate into higher ratings in general in many of our survey categories, including Compensation, Benefits, Quality of Work, and Satisfaction. On the other hand, more deals in the pipeline (and more work to do) could negatively impact ratings in Hours and Work/Life Balance. However, in the course of our surveys, bankers tell us time and again that when they’re working on live deals and getting paid fairly, the long hours and little work/life balance are easier to deal with.”

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