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Mergers & acquisitions

The Evolution of Boutiques

Refinitiv analysis of boutique M&A fees

At the turn of the century the world of M&A advisory was dominated by big banks.  In 2001, two-fifths of all global M&A fees were earned by just five bulge bracket banks, while around 300 boutiques shared a 15% cut.  Fast forward a decade and the number of boutiques multiplied. This report by Deals Intelligence explores the boutiques landscape from 2000 to today. 

Highlights include:

  • US$3.1 billion worth of completed M&A advisory fees have been earned globally by boutiques so far during 2019, 24% less than at this time last year and the lowest year-to-date total since 2015. 
  • Despite the fall from 2018, this year’s total is the 4th highest YTD total since our records began in 2000.
  • Twenty of the top fifty M&A fee earners in 2018 were boutiques, double the number in 2000
  • Almost half of European M&A fees in last 5Y were earned by Boutiques


“Senior bankers with long careers behind them started to set up their own shops. Free from conflicts that can be found at larger banks and able to offer their experience with a specialized, personal service, these boutiques started to win business and take share. The big banks’ dominance in the market slipped.”

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Key content

The growth of boutiques

Number of Boutique firms has gone up 51% in the last decade

Are they winning mandates?

Boutiques have won mandates for advisory services on all top 10 deals over last 15 years

What sectors do they dominate?

Boutiques have earned most fees in Financial and Tech sectors but show most dominance in Consumer sector over the last 5 years