Given Lazard’s reputation as one of the world’s finest financial advisory firms and its shrewd geographical spread, this “granddaddy of M&A” is well placed to take advantage of booms in Europe or in North America, assisting companies around the world with mergers and acquisitions, asset management and restructurings.
- Excellent training and a high level of responsibility from the start
- Very prestigious
- Strong senior management
- Good deal flow and exposure
- Resources and sharing can be limited compared to other banks
- Salaries are below market average
- The promotion policy can seem blurred
- Communication between regions and offices could improve
Lazard has spent the majority of its 150+ years as an independent firm, but that hasn’t prevented it from growing into one of the largest investment banks in the world, with approximately 2,300 employees across 39 cities throughout Europe, North America, Asia, Australia, and Central and South America.
A Bit of Background
The firm’s roots stretch back as far as 1848, to the time of the Californian gold rush. Founded in New Orleans, during this provincial prosperity, the increase in demand for retail and commercial services subsequently led to the firm expanding from importing goods and exporting gold bullion, to financial transactions including banking and foreign exchange. By 1852, an office had opened in Paris, and in 1870, another opened up in the English capital. A little more than forty years after its inception, Lazard was providing financial services solely, with each of its three ‘Houses’ in New York, London and Paris operating independently.
Over one hundred years later in 2000, these three houses were finally unified to form a consolidated Lazard. Then in 2005, the firm brought to a close its 157 years of private ownership and went public on the New York Stock Exchange. The firm now has offices in 24 countries across the globe, including ‘Houses’ in Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Spain. Its strategy is a simple and probably wise one: stick to what you know best. The public Lazard hasn’t sought to change this; the firm still provides advice on strategic and financial issues to its corporate, institutional, government and private clients.
A Closer Look at Divisions & Departments
Lazard has a long history of financial advisory services, and is renowned for its work on M&A and asset management. The firm operates under two divisions: financial advisory and asset management services. Its financial advisory practice is divided into industry groups, including consumer goods, financial institutions, financial sponsors, health care and life sciences, industrial, power and energy, real estate and technology, media and telecommunications. While its asset management department provides equity, fixed income and cash management, alternative investment strategies, in addition to merchant banking to its institutional clients, financial intermediaries, private clients and investment vehicles.
Since Big Ben struck twelve over a decade ago and ushered in the new millennium, Lazard has garnered a bit of a reputation for participating in a myriad of high volume transactions in Europe. In fact, 54% of revenue hails from the continent, with 45% from the US and a measly 1% from the rest of the world.
Perhaps as a step to rectify this geographical imbalance, Lazard opened the doors of a new outpost in mainland China in 2006. The firm predicted significant growth in M&A in response to Chinese companies purchasing their foreign competitors. Lazard set up its stalls with the aim of providing advice to companies, rather than selling them services, and therefore hired Beijing-based investment bankers for this provincial purpose.
With around 15 analyst vacancies each year, the competition is fierce. No wonder recruitment reigns supreme at Lazard. Since the hiring is done regionally, opportunities as well as training and development vary by location. The UK calendar of events has recruiting activities listed at Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College, Bristol University and the London School of Economics.
In addition to good grades and a degree from a respected university, Lazard expects its ideal candidate to have original ideas, sound judgment and precise execution. The analysts Lazard brings on board are generally high performing undergraduates or postgraduates with limited work experience. They possess a passion for business and a genuine interest in the investment banking sector, particularly in relation to mergers and acquisitions. Their primary purpose is to support transaction teams by performing financial and statistical analysis, conducting research, preparing client presentations and assisting in due diligence efforts.
During the interview, Lazard looks for a complete package of accomplishments that also takes account of your personality and extracurricular achievements. The interviewing process is designed to evaluate whether or not you have a wide array of abilities, including excellent spoken and written communication skills, and high academic achievements (which translates into 240+ UCAS points or equivalent; 2:1+ or equivalent).
Lazard’s graduate training programme consists of residential courses, master classes taught by practising bankers, coaching on the job and visits to the firm’s European offices. Twice a year the firm discusses individual employees’ training needs, and arranges a selection of technical, personal, management, and business skills courses.
To give you a taste of the place and the pace, Lazard offers 25 summer internship positions in its London office for undergraduates or postgraduates in their penultimate year of study. There are two seven-week internships running during the summer, one beginning in late June, and the other beginning in early August. The firm also offers a one-year placement, during which participants complete the nine-week graduate induction programme, before joining a specialist team for the remaining time. The application process for both programmes is in February, but you should check the company’s careers page for precise dates. Once you’re on the analyst programme, you’ll find yourself working alongside bankers of varying seniority, including managing directors, directors, vice presidents, associates and analysts. In London particularly, your job will see you assigned to a range of both generalist and specialist teams on a semi-annual basis.
Lazard Graduate Recruitment Info
Graduate programme info:
Approx graduate hires in 2012-2013: Up to 14 M&A analysts
Length of grad programme: 3 years
Application deadline: 26 October 2012
Approximate intern hires in 2012-2013: Up to 14
Length of internship: 10 weeks
Application deadline: 16 November 2012
No. of Employees: 2,292
Analyst: £30,000 - £50,000 (Approx.)
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No. of offices: Locations in 40 cities across 26 countries
50 Stratton Street
London W1J 8LL
Tel: +44 (0)20 7187 2000