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Boutique investment banks are quite different from the usual bulge bracket banks. However, it is important to understand that boutique investment banks may not be clumped together as one. There are regional boutique investment banks that only have 2-10 working employees while there are those boutique investment banks that offer operation on a national scale.
Bulge bracket banks, on the other hand, are considered to be gargantuan in scale. These are banks that over $1 billion in terms of size. Middle-market banks are usually banks present in one region. However, these banks mainly focus on one country and often times work on deals that are under $1 billion.
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As for the boutique investment banks, there are the elite boutique investment banks that advise mainly on larger deals. They work hand in hand with bulge bracket banks and may even enjoy popularity on par with their larger counterparts. In addition to this, it is also common that these elite boutique investment banks have offices in different parts of the country.
Also, there are the regional boutiques. These regional boutique investment banks simply stick to smaller deals and have fewer resources than other types of investment banks. It is a common practice among regional boutique investment banks to focus on a few categories. These boutique investment banks would stick to industries such as healthcare, technology, and other niches.
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It is also a common practice in boutique investment banks to have employees that can perform different responsibilities all at once. For larger banks, it is a common practice to have separate departments for the different functions of the bank. You have the legal department to draft legal documents and even writers in some occasions. On the other hand, boutique investment bank employees often times do everything by themselves.
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A downside of working in boutique investment banks is that you may not be doing a lot of technical work. Bulge bracket banks are usually involved with large companies which require their employees to do more financial modeling as well as other related technical work.
Why do companies now go for the top boutique investment banks instead of much larger banks? A lot of full-service investment banks have gained a bad reputation among companies, especially after the 2008 crisis. In addition to this, since a lot of large investment banks were hit hard during the 2008 crisis, a lot of their senior bankers have left and even joined smaller boutiques bringing with them a wealth of experience.