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The boutique bank paying $800k+ is still hiring

Perella Weinberg Partners (PWP), the boutique investment bank, is still hiring even in a rocky operating environment.

The firm’s Q4 results, which came out last week, revealed that the bank scaled back significantly on its compensation spending – from around $1m to a “measly” $839k. Yet on a call with investors, the bank’s CEO, Andrew Bednar, confirmed that the bank was still hiring – and its external hiring practices are seen as key to its growth.

“Our focus is on scaling the franchise's we've already built,” Bednar said. “Senior external hires, who can broaden our industry and product expertise will be the key to above market growth, as well top performers who rise through our ranks internally,” he added, whilst noting that partners and MD numbers had grown substantially at the firm, to 65 and 51, respectively.

A focus on targeted hiring of senior bankers is key to expanding the bank’s client list, too. The “plan on hiring is about increasing our client footprint,” Bednar said. The firm has expanded its physical office footprint in both London and New York too, by approximately 20%, which might be an indicator of future hiring optimism.

Dealmaking might just be making a comeback too, the bank’s leadership thinks. “I think the worst-case scenarios that were outlined… have really turned out to be significantly better than, those worst-case scenarios, which takes away a lot of uncertainty,” PWP founder and chairman Peter Weinberg said. “PE will have to deploy capital. That's their job. And I do think it will come back with respect to corporates,” he added.

CFO Gary Barancik also noted that tech-related investments would also be driving the firm’s expense strategy, and not just compensation. The firm expects “an increase in non-comp spending of approximately 15% to 20% over this past year,” due to, among others, an “increase in legal expenses and technology related investments, some assume continued increase in travel and related spend, [and] continued investment in talent and inflationary pressures.”

Caution will likely be advised at the firm, nonetheless, especially with 2023’s fortunes a mystery to most. “As 2022 demonstrated,” Barancik said, “we continue to look for opportunities to realize cost savings, especially in more challenging operating environments.”

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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