Execution, execution, execution

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In today's buoyant markets, it seems corporate finance is becoming increasingly reliant on execution-only specialists.

According to Andrew Ross Sorkin, editor of the New York Times' Dealbook website, the investment banking advisory business is rapidly becoming more about execution than origination.

With the thrill of the hunt for new business removed, Ross Sorkin says the role of the corporate financier is increasingly akin to that of a lawyer dotting the "i's" on a transaction.

And with M&A activity at record levels, headhunters tell us the relentless toll of deals to execute is taking its toll on vice president (VP) level bankers, who'd like to be able to move up a level and bring in business but are tied to their seats by the business they've already got.

"You can get situations where you have senior VPs who are trying to develop their own clients but are just doing execution work and marketing. They do not feel able to become what they want to be, which is rain-maker types," says Andrew Lynch at Veni Group.

One consultant tells us Goldman Sachs is leading the curve in this area.

"What we are finding now is that their industry groups are much more execution teams, so they are not really origination business. The origination side is being done by senior relationships bankers that tend to be country focused," says one head-hunter, who wished to remain anonymous.

"The jury is still out on whether this a model that will work but normally Goldman Sachs does not get it wrong," he adds.