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Elite boutique pay is diverging as PWP cuts, PJT & Evercore hike

Q1 results season is more or less over, with only a few stragglers left to report. The major boutique banks have reported and, until PWP last week, things were pretty positive. 

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PWP didn’t do well. Its revenues fell, it appears to have cut some people, and its pay fell from $181k to $178k per head. With those falling revenues, however, its compensation ratio (the percentage of total revenue paid out as compensation) went up to a rather staggering 113%, from the already high 94% for 2023.

On the other hand, PJT - which announced results earlier last week - delivered excellent results. Paul Taubman’s boutique saw revenues rise by 65% in the first quarter compared to Q1 of last year, mostly driven by a huge 72% uplift in advisory revenue. A lot of that was in restructuring, but far from all of it. The bank’s compensation spending surged by 72% year-on-year in Q1 as a result, and it paid an average of $226k per head.

Evercore is the other boutique that did well. Revenue ticked up ever so slightly (by around 2%), as did net income. The bank added nearly 100 people to its headcount in the first quarter, and its compensation rose to $174k per head, from $172k in the first quarter of 2023. 

Moelis & Co. also performed well. Revenues rose 16% year-on-year and it hired 11 MDs - four of them externally. It paid an average of $138k per head in the quarter, less than the other major boutiques did.

Elite boutique pay: always generous

Regardless of where you are, have no fear: elite boutiques pay very well. However, they are paying less than before. 

A report from Overheard on Wall Street shows that, while boutique bank bonuses were still ahead of larger banks in 2023, they were also down substantially on 2022. Moelis’ bankers’ bonuses, for example, fell by around 50% last year,

Boutiques pay a higher percentage of their compensation in cash. PJT’s 10-k filing revealed that 63% of its pay was cash in 2023.

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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