On Wednesday the 21st of October of 2020, L’Ecole Polytechnique’s students were heading to the 8th arrondissement de Paris, to attend a Rothschild & Co presentation, organized by X-Finance, aiming at introducing their Global Advisory renowned branch.
The speakers were all former Polytechnique students and occupy, at Rothschild & Co, positions in various sectors and at various hierarchic levels (Partner, Debt Advisor, Restructuring Director, Sovereign Advisory Director, Analyst, …). The principal speaker, Nicolas Bonnault, joined Rothschild & Co in 1997 after spending 5 years at the French Treasury Department, and 2 years as an advisor for the French Economy and Finance Minister.
The presentation began with a global view of the different fields that compose Investment Banking. Those fields are advisory, lending, sales/trading, and research. Rothschild & Co is a “boutique” that do not offer lending services; therefore, the presentation was mainly focused on the global advisory branch that has a relevant weight at Rothschild & Co and makes the bank’s renown.
In M&A and advisory, bankers take part in 3 types of negotiations : on the buy-side, on the sell-side, and in other types of advisory services (debt, restricting, IPO, sovereign advisory, …). Nicolas Bonnault then recalled that the advisory deals’ complexity requires close collaboration and constant communication with external actors such as lawyers, strategy advisors, banks, debt funds, management teams, CFO/CEO, investors, and others… Therefore, he highlighted that an investment banker has to face a very diversified panel of counterparts.
As a result, this field can fit either an engineering student (quantitative analysis, modelling, valuation, …) or a student with a more Finance/Economics-focused background (advisory, analysis, valuation, …).
A family-owned powerful French « boutique »
Rothschild & Co has been constantly growing since the past years, with now 200 active bankers. At Rothschild & Co, the team spirit and the firm culture are crucial elements, and the average age of bankers being 35 years old, makes the firm a very young organization.
The Global Advisory division is part of the boutique’s 4 principal branches with “Private Wealth”, “Asset Management”, and “Merchant Banking”.
Still owned and controlled by a powerful French family, Rothschild & Co has a significant weight on Europe and managed to impose themselves as leaders in Global Advisory. Presents worldwide, and having renowned international clients such as Bouygues, Coca-Cola, LVMH, Total, Asahi, and others, Rothschild & Co also has a very high turnover with around 20 new analysts engaged every year.
Recruiting and networking
After that, Nicolas Bonnault presented Rothschild & Co diverse available opportunities. Today, 3 programs exist : the 2021 Graduate program which consists in a 6-week formation at London’s offices, the 6 months internships (starting in January/March or June/September), and the freshly added shorter “Summer” internships.
Finally, the session ended with a Q&A and a presentation of the acquisition deal of Bombardier Transport by ALSTOM by the in-charge team. The latter allowed us to better understand the structure model of a Rothschild & Co Global Advisory team (composed of 2 analysts, 1 associate, 1 director, and 2 partners, on average), the objectives and difficulties anyone could face during a deal, the followed timeline and its composing elements, which are essential to manage a deal with the greatest efficiency and precision.
After the presentation, we were offered a buffet, and we had the opportunity to discuss with the bankers and ask them questions.