But prestige, money, and professional development only go so far. You’ve probably heard the cliché that ‘people quit bosses, not their jobs.’ And that’s true even more on Wall Street. You know the image of finance firms: a caste system predicated on results and reputation where you keep your head down and mouth shut. And that’s true, to some extent, just like in any industry. But real talent doesn’t want to finish a paint-by-numbers. They want a blank canvas, where they’re empowered to make real choices and create something new.
And that starts at the top. When leadership’s values and conduct conflict with the ideals and expectations they’ve set, employees simply tune out and start looking elsewhere. When communication is poor, employees fill in the blanks with their fears and grievances. When teams are pitted against each other, they fight over what they already have…not what could be. When senior management is viewed as out-of-touch and self-absorbed, employees take their cues and act accordingly. Culture may eat strategy for breakfast, but poor character can spoil culture by lunch. And leadership, for good or bad, are the caretakers of culture and the exemplars of character.
That’s why Wall Street Oasis also recently ranking firm leadership, using the same methodology as the prestige rankings. Here, senior management was measured based on communication, teamwork, leadership abilities, and overall competence. As before, the usual suspects ended up on top.
Let’s start with the communication question, which covered management communication over “issues and changes.” Again, Blackstone Group earned the top slot at 99.8% above the percentile. Robert W. Bird & Company, which often ranks somewhere in the top 10 on most questions, trailed behind at 99.3%, followed by Evercore (99.0%), Harris Williams & Company (98.0%), and William Blair (96.7%). Surprisingly, traditional players like JPMorgan Chase, Lazard, Moelis & Company and BMO Capital Markets missed the top 15 cut here.
However, Blackstone (99.0%) finished third in teamwork (i.e. “information and knowledge sharing within a company”). That honor went to Harris Williams & Company (99.8%), with Evercore (99.5%) nabbing the #2 spot. Piper Jaffray and Goldman Sachs rounded out the top five, with Keefe Bruyette & Woods coming out of nowhere to rank seventh.
Finally, Blackstone and Evercore exchanged top spots in the “best leadership” and “smartest management” categories. In leadership, Blackstone earned the crown by 0.1% percentile point over Evercore, with Moelis & Company, Rothschild, and Goldman Sachs rounding out the top five in leadership. When it came to senior management’s “competence,” Evercore carried a 0.1% edge over Blackstone among their employees. Goldman Sachs and Lazard finished a point behind the top two, with Perella Weinberg Partners crashing the top five at 98.6% of percentile. However, good leadership doesn’t necessarily equal wise decision-making, as William Blair, Raymond James, and Standard Chartered Bank failed to make the top 15 in “smartest management” after ranking in the top 15 for “best leadership.”
In a separate survey conducted by Vault, Evercore ranked only fifth in firm leadership, behind Houlihan Lokey, Blackstone, Centerview Partners, and the Peter J. Solomon Company.
Here are Wall Street Oasis’ overall rankings for management:
Please include attribution to WallStreetOasis.com with this graphic.
Source: Wall Street Oasis
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