- While mergers-and-acquisitions activity has fallen off a cliff, some corners of investment banking are busier than ever.
- Investment bankers primed to help companies navigate the financial fallout from Covid-19, especially restructuring and debt-raising specialists, have been crushed with demand.
- The shift to remote work, a notion that many bank execs would’ve scoffed at pre-crisis, has actually facilitated greater productivity.
- When you eliminate time spent at airports and restaurants, and when Zoom calls can be arranged in minutes, firms are finding investment banking moves at a lightning-quick pace.
- Having been forced into an industry-wide remote work pilot program that has unearthed millions in potential savings, some firms are in no rush to get back to business as usual.
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While some corners of the investment banking have cooled amid the chaos from the coronavirus pandemic, certain bankers are flooded with business — and they’re finding the confines of social distancing have accommodated a faster pace of work than ever before.
The first quarter of 2020 saw mergers and acquisitions — especially of the megadeal variety — fall off a cliff as companies reckoned with the turbulence wrought by Covid-19 and scrambled to address more pressing concerns, like preserving liquidity or lining up more of it.
Globally, M&A volume so far in 2020 is down 42% to $750 billion, while in the US it fell by more than 60% to $240 billion, according to data from Dealogic.
But investment bankers primed to help companies navigate the financial fallout, especially restructuring and debt-raising specialists, have been crushed with demand.
Corporate bonds have minted record revenues for banks. Debt capital markets volumes have eclipsed $1.5 trillion in the US, a 39% uptick over last year’s pace, with investment-grade debt up 77% and junk bonds up 23%.
Top advisory shops have also been mobbed with restructuring and debt advisory work, which some execs expect to easily double in terms of revenue, and they’ve been coping by redeploying junior bankers and leaning on senior industry coverage bankers.
How the shift to remote work is speeding dealmaking
Far from gumming up business, the shift to remote work, a notion that many bank execs would’ve scoffed at pre-crisis, has actually facilitated greater productivity. In the age of the coronavirus, Wall Street bankers — already notorious for long hours spent curating a white-glove experience for clients — are finding they can provide even closer attention and care from afar.
It turns out, when you take away the time spent at airports and restaurants, and when Zoom calls can be arranged in minutes, investment banking moves at a lightning-quick pace.
“We’re able to get calls and work done extremely quickly because, as I said, nobody is at their kid’s…