The Best Places to Work on Wall Street

Best Places to Work on Wall Street
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The annual survey of what investment bankers think of our leading banks is out.
Allan Baxter | Getty Images

The annual survey of what investment bankers think of our leading banks is out.

The Vault Banking 50 ranks the banks using a weighted formula that reflects the issues bankers care most about, combining quality of life rankings (such as culture, satisfaction, hours, and compensation) with overall prestige. It also includes things such as “green initiatives” and “LGBT Diversity.”

The biggest gainer this year was Morgan Stanley, which rocketed up from the 22nd spot last year to be the No. 3 ranked bank.

The biggest loser was Blackstone, which dropped from No. 2 to No. 25. Could this be because Blackstone’s stock has been a laggard recently?

In any case, here are the top seven banks ranked by the people who work for them.

By John Carney
Posted 29 September 2011

7. Evercore Partners
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The firm was set up in 1996 by two Blackstone partners. A decade later it went public. It’s still considered to be an up-and-comer. The atmosphere is described as “laid back.”
evercore.com

The firm was set up in 1996 by two Blackstone partners. A decade later it went public, and t’s still considered to be an up-and-comer.

The atmosphere is described as “laid back.”

6. Greenhill & Co.
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Greenhill is supposedly more selective than Goldman Sachs when it comes to hiring. The boutique investment bank really cares about who it hires. As a result, it scores much better in terms of job satisfaction and relationships between managers and junior employees than Goldman. But the place loses points for diversity. “There are still not many women working here,” one person said.
greenhill.com

Greenhill is supposedly more selective than Goldman Sachs when it comes to hiring. The boutique investment bank is notoriously picky about who it hires.

As a result, it scores much better in terms of job satisfaction, and relationships between managers and junior employees than Goldman.

But the place loses points for diversity.

“There are still not many women working here,” one person said.

5. Houlihan Lokey
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People really like to work at Houlihan Lokey. The firm nabs the top spot in the survey in the categories of hours, culture, informal trading, job satisfaction, transparency, and relationships with managers. Compensation is considered very good as well. The downside? It’s not considered an extremely prestigious place to work.
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People really like to work at Houlihan Lokey. The firm nabs the top spot in the survey in the categories of hours, culture, informal trading, job satisfaction, transparency, and relationships with managers. Compensation is considered very good, as well.

The downside? It’s not considered an extremely prestigious place to work.

4. Credit Suisse
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Location. Location. Location. While many Wall Street firms are located at relatively dreary addresses in midtown or the financial district, Credit Suisse is located just across from Madison Square Park. Employees often grab a bite to eat in the park’s Shake Shack. Training at the firm is regarded as top-notch. In fact, Credit Suisse scores second place in the “Formal Training” category—just behind JP Morgan.
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Location. Location. Location.

While many Wall Street firms are located at relatively dreary addresses in midtown or the financial district, Credit Suisse is located just across from Madison Square Park. Employees often grab a bite to eat in the park’s Shake Shack restaurant.

Training at the firm is regarded as top-notch. In fact, Credit Suisse scores second place in the “formal training” category—just behind JPMorgan.

3. Morgan Stanley
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Morgan Stanley was a huge mover on the Vault rankings this year—shooting all the way up to third place from last year’s dismal 22. One thing driving Morgan Stanley up the ranks has been its ability to stay out of trouble. No one regards them as vampire squids. And while Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch has been beset by problems, Morgan Stanley’s growth in the brokerage business is proceeding much more smoothly. But Morgan Stanley scores poorly in compensation. They just aren’t pay
Scott Eells | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Morgan Stanley was a huge mover on the Vault rankings this year—shooting all the way up to third place from last year’s dismal 22.

One thing driving Morgan Stanley up the ranks has been its ability to stay out of trouble. No one regards it as a vampire squid.

And while Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch has been beset by problems, Morgan Stanley’s growth in the brokerage business is proceeding much more smoothly.

But Morgan Stanley scores poorly in compensation. It just isn't paying as much as its competitors.

2. Goldman Sachs
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Goldman Sachs lost its place on the top of the ratings to JP Morgan this year.But don’t let that fool you. Goldman is still ranked number 1 in prestige—by a long shot. No one can touch the prestige of Goldman Sachs. But hours at Goldman are brutal. The firm also looses points for a perceived lack of diversity and scores low in terms of relationships employees have with their managers. The constant bad press and negative public perception also damage morale at the firm.
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Goldman Sachs lost its place on the top of the ratings to JPMorgan this year.

But don’t let that fool you. Goldman is still ranked No. 1 in prestige—by a long shot. No one can touch Goldman's cachet.

But hours are brutal. The firm also loses points for a perceived lack of diversity and scores low in terms of relationships employees have with their managers.

The constant bad press and negative public perception also damage morale at the firm.

1. JPMorgan
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Jamie Dimon is still the king of Wall Street. His leadership is one of biggest reasons that JP Morgan took the #1 spot on the list.“Run by the best CEO in the business,” one respondent told Vault.com.The culture is described as “very open, casual and welcoming.” Mentoring for unior employees is said to be top notch.The size of the bank, however, can be a draw back. It can be “bureaucratic,” as one employee put it.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jamie Dimon is still the king of Wall Street. His leadership is one of biggest reasons that JPMorgan took the No. 1 spot on the list.

“Run by the best CEO in the business,” one respondent told Vault.com.

The culture is described as “very open, casual, and welcoming.”

Mentoring for junior employees is said to be top notch.

The size of the bank, however, can be a drawback. It can be “bureaucratic,” as one employee put it.