What this means is that come next year, or when the deal markets come back, the all important merger and acquisition league tables will look a lot different than they have in years past. Already, the first quarter 2009 table has given a preview of what the future might look like, with the boutique bank Evercore ranking No. 7 in announced U.S. M&A deal volume, up from No. 16 in the 2008 first quarter, and fellow advisory boutique Rothschild ranking No. 10, up from No. 18.
As further evidence of the strengthening of the middle market, Centerview Partners (the firm who nabbed the three mentioned above) just announced it's opening two new offices: one in San Francisco and one in London.
These three are just the latest in a long line of big swinging investment bankers to defect large institutions for smaller ones (commonly referred to as boutiques or middle market firms). The trend of big hitters heading to seemingly smaller pastures is nothing new; it's been occurring for about a year now or more, as big banks become increasingly weighted down by salary and bonus restrictions as well as certain struggling units. And all signs point to the trend continuing, perhaps until 2010.