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Value of Generalist Investment Bankers

Specialist investment bankers may have conflicts of interest. The Persient team, as generalist investment bankers, will present a company to a much broader audience across multiple industries through a specialized clearing process. This often results in a greater value achieved. Moreover, the sharing of proprietary information with competitors during the sale process is reduced. But, most importantly, our clients feel that we are “in their corner” and representing them, uncovering every possible viable offer.


Ashish: Generally business owners are looking at, evaluating whether to go with a specialist investment banker who focuses on a one industry versus going with a generalist investment banker. You chose to go the generalist route. What was your thinking behind that?

Client #1: I actually really wanted the generalist because I didn’t want the advisor to have any preconceived notions of who was best or any existing relationships in which the buying partner might have more influence than I did. So I think that was the primary reason why I thought going with the generalist made more sense, because you would come in with almost a naive picture of the landscape in a very positive way.

Client #2: If you go with a specialized company, you have a potential for conflict of interest. They’re consistently selling to large acquisition firms, you know, one company every year. Um, there could be mixed priorities there as to whether or not they’re trying to do the best for their client or whether or not they’re serving the deep money pockets that, regenerates income for them every year. Also when you go with a generalist approach, you’re reaching out to a broad base of customers and you might end up with a unique customer that comes in that you otherwise would’ve overlooked.

Client #3: For me, I kind of had felt like the specialist might have buyers, that were interested in us that maybe they had represented previously, and that there could be potential conflicts of interest. And so I felt the general was more appropriate for us. I felt like my company could be sold to an array of different companies. And so, that was kind of key.

Client #2: We had over 200 customers that we targeted as potential acquirers, and as I recall, you guys were able to reach 90% of them. It’s a pretty good batting average, and I don’t think a specialist would’ve even achieved that primarily because, you have some respect in the broad base of industries, and you’re persistent so you’re able to get through, and get a yes or no answer from a potential interested acquirer. So it really worked to our advantage to go with a generalist firm over an inside industry expert.

Client #3: I didn’t necessarily want to sell to someone in our industry, because I was worried about them backing out, and then knowing some of our secret sauce and stuff like that. So, I thought the general was definitely better for us.

Client #1: I think relationships are significant. I was most concerned with the relationship that I would have with the investment banker. And so that’s what was most important with me because I know that over the next six months to a year, we were going to be spending a lot of time together. And I wanted a banker that had my interest top of mind.