The market for “nice” investment bankers..-Deepak Srinath

At a social gathering last week I was asked the usual “so, what do you do?” question by somebody I had just been introduced to. When I replied that I was an investment banker, I got an incredulous look followed by “But you look too cherubic to be an investment banker. You should have a sharp angular face and look mean. I suggest you change your profession, you just don’t look the part”. While this sounds like an amusing anecdote, I was left wondering whether this was a reflection on the profession or on me.

I recently read an article in ToI about an amusement arcade game called ‘Whack the Banker’ which was proving to be a big hit in the UK. The media of course, with predictable regularity profiles the greed and avarice of alpha male bulge bracket investment bankers who snatch food from the mouths of starving, homeless people to pad their own pockets. These are of course facetious extremes; reality probability lies somewhere in between.

In our own interactions with investment bankers, especially those in the mid market segment, we’ve generally seen a fairly well ingrained sense of ethics and fair play. Of course, we’ve had the odd case where a banker deliberately misrepresented facts about their client or tried to go behind our backs and poach our client. This said, the one aspect of i-banker behaviour we’d definitely like to change is the unnecessary posturing and game-playing that is almost de rigueur for every banker driven deal. I strongly believe that there is absolutely no gain in value that is derived from such posturing and it adds 20-30% to the time a deal takes to close. An honest dialogue between the bankers representing both sides of a deal will probably achieve better results for both parties and save a lot of time for all concerned.

At Viedea, we’ve always believed in the value of being honest, straight-forward responsive bankers who work with like minded clients. In fact, that is our USP in many ways, along with the emphasis on quality – quality clients, quality deals, quality employees and quality work. There is a market for “nice” investment bankers after all!

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