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J.P. Morgan Investment Bank Unseats Goldman Sachs as the Best Bank to Work For

Vault Career IntelligenceNew York, NY, (September 20, 2011) Vault.com kicks off its first-ever Banking Week—an entire week dedicated to unveiling Vault’s Banking Industry Rankings for 2012—with The Vault Banking 50, a ranking which debuted last year. The Vault Banking 50 looks beyond prestige, and includes several quality of life factors important to consider when assessing the best banks to work for. This year, in a big upset, J.P. Morgan Investment Bank ranked No. 1 in the Vault Banking 50, jumping two spots to overtake Goldman Sachs and become the best investment bank to work for in 2012.  Goldman Sachs was followed by a strong showing from Morgan Stanley, rounding out the Top 3.

As part of Vault’s annual Banking Survey, conducted this past April through June, over 2,400 banking professional of all levels were asked to assess their peer banking firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on prestige (they were unable to rate their own firm, and were asked to rate only firms with which they were familiar).  They were also asked to rank their own firm in various quality of life categories, including compensation, hours, firm culture, and overall satisfaction. A weighted formula was applied to the data culled from these ratings to determine the Vault Banking 50 for 2011.

The Top 10 Best Investment Banks to Work For based on Vault’s Annual Banking Survey are:

  1. J.P. Morgan Investment Bank
  2. Goldman Sachs & Co.
  3. Morgan Stanley
  4. Credit Suisse (Investment Banking Division)
  5. Houlihan Lokey
  6. Greenhill & Co.
  7. Evercore Partners
  8. Perella Weinberg Partners
  9. 9.Centerview           
  10. 10.Jefferies &           

Last year, J.P. Morgan came in at No. 3 in the Vault Banking 50 and was considered by many to be the big winners of the credit crisis.  This year, the bank continued to ride the wave of success all the way to the top due to what insiders called a “big start to 2011.”  Other survey respondents outside of the bank noted that “J.P. Morgan has become much more prestigious over the past two years.”  One banking insider said of J.P. Morgan, “Overall, they are the best in the business—no one comes close.” 

As for why Goldman slipped one spot to No. 2, according to Derek Loosvelt, Vault’s Senior Finance Editor, “Although working for Goldman still carries nearly unmatched prestige, all the negative press—some deserved, some not—the firm received in the past year has hurt its reputation and employee morale. Goldman’s insiders are less excited to be working for the bank than they’ve been in years past, and the firm’s business outlook is less bright than it’s historically been, especially due to recent financial regulation. And compared to J.P. Morgan’s employees, Goldman’s are much less satisfied with the number of hours they work and their firm’s culture.”

In addition to a strong prestige in its own right, J.P. Morgan ranks ahead of its bulge-bracket competitors in just about every quality of life category, including firm culture, overall satisfaction, manager relations, training, diversity, and business outlook. The firm’s insiders praise the firm for its supportive and positive environment where teamwork and serving clients are put ahead of individual agendas. They also praise its open, casual, and welcoming culture, calling the staff there very smart, but also down-to-earth. Although hours can be long in both sales and trading and investment banking positions, employees at the bank say they’re happy to put in the extra time for a firm that commands such tremendous respect. Employees are also quite pleased that managers and senior professionals ask for their opinions and are always looking for ways to further their experience. The firm’s formal training is top-notch, and on-the-job training also receives high praise. As for the bank’s future, J.P. Morgan also has the best business outlook of any of the bulge-bracket bank and is believed to be at the top of its game.

“JPMorgan is a fantastic place to work; the firm commands tremendous respect and is a leader across all investment banking products,” said one employee.  “The bank has a uniquely supportive and positive environment where teamwork and serving clients is put ahead of individual or business unit agendas.”

Despite slipping a spot to No. 2, Goldman Sachs still has a lock on prestige, with survey respondents outside the firm calling the bank “the best franchise in the marketplace,” “the cream of the crop,” and “the premier investment bank,” even if “10 years from now, it will be clear their best days are behind them.”

But currently, most Goldman bankers enjoy working for the firm. “I’m very satisfied with my learning and mentorship, career development and compensation, and exposure to various companies, industries, and clients,” says one employee.  “And I feel that senior members of my teams and other coworkers in the office are invested in my development and job satisfaction.”

Coming in at No. 3 this year was Morgan Stanley, thanks to a strong showing in Vault’s Banking Prestige Rankings and Vault’s Quality of Life Rankings, both of which will be released in the coming days.  Banking insiders outside Morgan Stanley praised the firm for its ability to “land top talent,” calling it “the gold standard,” a “strong competitor,” and the “second best bulge bracket to Goldman.” 

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley insiders, for the most part, are happy to be working for such a prestigious firm. “My job is very challenging and rewarding,” says one employee. “Every day is different, and I enjoy the balance between quantitative and qualitative aspects of my job. Speaking with clients is fun and engaging, and there is enough variety to keep me on my toes.”

The Banking 50 kicks off the rollout of Vault’s finance rankings.  Through the remainder of the week, Vault will release its Banking Prestige Rankings and Banking Quality of Life Rankings, culminating in the Financial Services Diversity Recruiting Expo in New York City on Friday, August 23, 2011.  The following week, Vault will release its Accounting Rankings for 2012.   

View the entire Vault Banking 50 Rankings for 2012.

About Vault 

Vault.com is the source of employer and university rankings, ratings and insight for highly credentialed, in-demand candidates.  Vault.com is organized by profession, industry, company and schools.  Vault profiles, rankings and assessment tools deliver the insider perspective and career research candidates need to successfully match themselves to the best available job, employer and career opportunity. The Vault.com website features profiles on more than 4,500 employers, 4,000 universities and hundreds of industries and professions including the law, finance, accounting and consulting sectors.  Founded in 1996, Vault.com is the only career resource of its kind and attracts more than 1000 employer and recruiter advertisers, more than 1200 school and institutional subscribers and millions of individual visitors and members. 

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