A Day in the Life of a Leveraged Finance Structuring/Origina

by Derek Loosvelt | April 01, 2009

7:00 a.m.: It's a little bit early for you to be up, but you want to get a head start on the day. Since it's a Friday and your analyst has been cranking late on an info memo for a new deal, you definitely want to get into the office and review it ASAP. Also, your MD has called a 9 a.m. meeting for this deal and you want to be prepared. So, you grab the BlackBerry and head to the office.

8:15 a.m.: Even as a third-year associate, you still are not used to the early morning hours, which follow long evenings. Although you were at work until 11 p.m., your adrenaline still runs high, as you are now on two live deals. One, a multibillion-dollar refinancing, was just mandated, and the second is in market with a lenders' meeting on Tuesday morning. There's always plenty going on in this job, which is exactly why you love it. You check e-mails and start to review the info memo shell that your top-notch analyst worked on late last night. That kid is definitely going places.

8:40 a.m.: Realizing that you've got 20 minutes until your meeting, you run downstairs to grab a cup of coffee and a bagel.

9:00 a.m.: You finish your bagel at your desk while reading the info memo, and head over to the meeting where the MD outlines the next tasks for the transaction. The MD is exceptionally pleased to know that the info memo was already started and you all talk about the next steps. You set a firm deadline for the info memo to be distributed to lenders, for a lenders' meeting to be held and for sit-downs with the sales and capital markets teams. The MD, always on the BlackBerry, forwards you all a note from senior management, which says how proud they are that the deal team pulled off another successful pitch. As you have been on quite a number of deals, you recognize that this is the calm before the storm and the crunch time before the deal launches.

10:00 a.m.: With some clear deadlines in hand, you quickly debrief with the analyst, dividing up responsibilities. You agree to meet at the office at 10 a.m. tomorrow, to make sure that everything is on track and to review progress. Since the other analyst on your live transaction is out of the office for recruiting, you are doing all of the heavy lifting for the lenders' meeting and will need all of the help possible on this deal. With two live deals in market, things are busy right now. Thankfully your auctions have gone radio silent, while the owners review bids from the private equity shops and financing firms.

10:15 a.m.: You return to your desk to find some investors have already called about the new transaction, even before the lenders' presentation has gone out. You call them back, giving them some information and passing the word along to your sales team. People are definitely excited about this deal.

10:45 a.m.: As soon as you set down the phone, the VP for this deal comes over to your desk, checking in with you about the presentation. Almost on cue, the client calls, asking to review the lenders' presentation slides you sent last night. Since they will be traveling to New York on Monday for the presentation on Tuesday, they'd like to wrap up any major changes before the weekend.

11:00 a.m.: On the call with the client, you are going slide-by-slide through your newest update to the presentation with the client. You discuss talking points, where you all should meet and any other changes. The client suggests updates to a few slides and you make note of them. Knowing these changes will be made to the info memo, you make note to change those as well. You promise to send them a soft copy of the slides by 4 p.m. so they can print them out before they leave for home.

12:30 p.m.: Immediately after you get off the phone, you begin reviewing the changes. Recognizing that this will take you a few hours, you decide to grab a bite to eat from the cafeteria downstairs, since you know that you can get back to your desk quickly.

12:50 p.m.: While eating lunch at your desk, you start cranking on changes. The VP stops by periodically to ask questions, but otherwise you spend most of the afternoon cranking on the changes and double-checking everything. Since hundreds of investors will be scrutinizing this deck of slides, you want it to be as perfect as possible. Also, since this is going back to the client, you want the work to be top notch.

3:00 p.m.: With the changes made, you circulate the presentation to the VP and MD to show them what you are sending. Often, the CFO and treasurer will call you directly and vice versa, but you still like to touch base with your deal team. Once you have final approval from them, you send over a copy of the lenders' meeting slides.

3:30 p.m.: Your e-mail to the client has been sent, so now it is time to check in with your other deal team. Meanwhile, the analyst is cranking on the transaction overview section of the info memo and making good progress. You both grab some coffee to take a break, while you discuss the weekend and career stuff.

4:00 p.m.: Once back at your desk, you check e-mails and voice mails. You make some calls to friends, check CNN and the WSJ, and catch up on the rest of your day. About this time, the analyst from your deal has arrived back in the office from the high-yield bond roadshow, completely exhausted. You both sit down to update on what has happened with the lenders' presentation, while you strategize what needs to happen before Tuesday's meeting. However, since the final approval for the deck of slides has not yet been given, you are really in a holding pattern on that front. Yet, updates need to be made to that info memo so that it can be sent to investors immediately after the meeting. This will definitely be your weekend work.

5:00 p.m.: Before your MDs leave for the weekend, you check in with each of them to make sure they know where everything stands. The lenders' slides for the first transaction look great, the shell of the info memo for the refinancing transaction is underway and your auctions still remain quiet with no news. From the looks of it, you might actually have something of a weekend. You also make sure to check in with the VPs, since they are leaving shortly too. As one of them is drafting part of a credit agreement this weekend, she invites you to hop on a conference call tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. Since you will be in the office anyhow, this is fine by you.

6:00 p.m.: You stop by both analysts' desks to see how they are doing. You divide up some minor tasks, so that everyone can get out of the office tonight, since it is a nice evening outside. With only a few hours of work on Saturday, you feel great about this weekend.

7:00 p.m.: You shut down the laptop, remind the analysts not to stay late since a lot of that work can be done tomorrow, and you head home. As for a 7 p.m. departure on a Friday, you have seen a lot worse!

Filed Under: Finance


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