The investment banks that offer the best and worst work-life balance

eFC logo

If you work at an investment bank, chances are good you don’t speak of your work-life balance in glowing terms. But of course, all things are relative. Some bankers have it worse off than others. And the list of winners and losers seems ever-changing as new management teams take over and embrace or ignore recent work-life policies for junior bankers.

The list of investment banks that offer the biggest glimmer of a personal life are below, courtesy of a new report from Wall Street Oasis. Leading the rankings for the second year in a row is Atlanta-based SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, the corporate and investment banking arm of retail-focused SunTrust Bank. While it has offices in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, the firm’s footprint primarily covers the southern half of the Eastern Seaboard. Second-ranked PNC Financial Services is based in Pittsburgh and is known as one of the largest regional firms in the U.S. In theory, it would make sense for banks like these to provide a better work-life balance than those with a larger presence in cities like New York and London.

The bad news for employees who enjoy the prestigious feeling of working for a big-name investment bank is that several bulge-brackets tumbled down the list compared to last year, including Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank. In fact, not one of the six big U.S. banks saw their ranking improve. Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan slid nine and eight spots, respectively. Perhaps high market volatility and a robust U.S. M&A market had bankers and traders tied to their desk for the majority of 2018. Feeling the need to stick around the office isn’t always a bad thing.

Other than Credit Suisse, the investment bank that took the biggest hit compared to last year was Piper Jaffray. There are a few recent threads about certain groups at the middle market firm that are said to push junior bankers. Meanwhile, the most noteworthy movers up the list include the two big French banks – Société Générale and BNP Paribas – as well as HSBC and boutique Evercore. Despite a somewhat sluggish third quarter, Evercore still sports an eye-popping 59% compensation ratio. Average pay-per-head at Evercore may near $600k for the year – all while ranking as the top boutique when it comes to work-life balance. Not bad.

The one real surprise may be Greenhill, which finished first in a number of quality of life categories during a recent survey, but is ranked all of 25th by WSO. It seems employees who work outside of Greenhill’s New York headquarters – in cities like San Francisco, Chicago and Houston – are more likely to boast about their work-life balance than those in NYC. The complete 2018 rankings are below, along with where each bank placed in 2017.


Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact:

Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by actual human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t).

Related articles