Barclays' ex-ECM chief on how to make your own boutique work
Julian Macedo, the former co-head of CEEMEA equity capital markets at Barclays, has taken the increasingly common route of quitting a big bank to go it alone, but he has no ambitions to start the next Robey Warshaw.
Instead, he tells us, Macedo is relying on the close contacts he has within the ECM functions of large investment banks to help him get the new business up and running. He’s an “IPO captain”, parachuting into companies to for “hand-holding” company executives through the process of going public, and is relying on lawyers, banks and audit firms to recommend his services.
“Early on, I decided that I didn’t want to become a regulated entity. I have no interest in providing corporate finance services. I want banks to know me and where they see an opportunity when a client is struggling with execution, think of me,” he says.
Macedo left Barclays in November last year and launched The ECM Team shortly after. He joined the UK bank in April 2011, after five years at Deutsche Bank where he was head of Iberian ECM.
Barclays has been cutting costs in its investment bank and senior staff have been departing. Many have since ditched the prospect of another job at a big investment bank to start their own business. Mike Beadle, an MD in Barclays’ M&A team, launched his own advisory firm Kinnerton Capital in March, Timothy Davenport, the former head of the controls office in the Americas, is launching his own start up called WK Davenport LLC.
Outside of Barclays, Peter Bell, the former head of UK M&A at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, launched his own corporate finance boutique Cardean Bell in November and Andrew Kass, an MD in Deutsche Bank’s internet investment banking team, started a boutique called Blackwatch Advisors.
“Investment banks are under cost-pressures, and the industry is a lot tougher place to work than five years ago. If senior bankers see a niche, they’re pursuing that opportunity. It’s also a lot more enjoyable starting up on your own than working for a large investment bank,” he says.
Not that it’s been easy. Macedo tells us that he averages around 16 meetings every week, whether that’s building relationships with potential clients, giving his view on ECM at industry events or getting to know fintech firms, he says.
“You’ve got to keep yourself incentivised, because you’re entirely reliant on what you put in,” he says. “I spend 20 minutes at the end of each week reviewing what I’ve done, being self-critical on what was a success and what I need to follow up on.”
Another key to going it alone, he says, is knowing what you’re bringing to the table. Even if you’re an experienced investment banking, thinking you’ve got the ability to go up against large investment banks is a big risk.
“If you’re competing with the big banks and law firms on ECM deals, you’re in for an uphill struggle,” he says. “It was important from the outset that they knew that I would be working with them, not against them.”
Macedo admits that the firm is yet to turn a profit, but as the sole employee, a couple of deals could change that.
“When you’re in an ECM team of an investment bank, you’re competing for one or two lead roles on a deal, and that’s deemed a success,” he says. “I’m sure the business will be a success, but right now it’s a much more satisfying experience than just trying to maintain your share of the fee wallet.”
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