Lazard to continue deal-hiring spree as revenue hits record

Lazard will continue to hire senior investment bankers in 2022, its chief executive Ken Jacobs said, after a record year in which the firm’s revenue jumped 24%.

Lazard has hired more than 20 managing directors and senior advisers at its investment bank during 2021, and the bank still has “white space” in North America and Europe to add more talent, a said Jacobs Financial News.

Jacobs said the bank “had great success” hiring dealmakers last year in a hot market for senior talent that has driven up salaries and bonuses.

“I think over time some of those pressures will ease, but it’s not an easy market,” he said.

The bank posted record revenue of $3.1 billion in 2021, with last-quarter profit of $217 million also hitting new highs. Within its consulting business, revenue for the year was $1.8 billion, a 27% increase over 2020.

READ Lazard continues spree of hiring dealmakers as revenue hits record high

Like its peers, compensation costs at Lazard have ballooned as companies seek to reward bankers after fees across the industry hit a record $129 billion. Payroll expenses of $1.8 billion at Lazard were up 22% from 2020.

So far in 2022, Jacobs said there’s been an “unprecedented level of consultancy activity.” Some high-level dealmakers have speculated that M&A activity could slow as macro concerns such as rising inflation, interest rate hikes and geopolitical tensions in Ukraine affect sentiment.

READ Bankers see upheaval as record deal boom slows

“CEO trust is key, but most companies do reasonably well in this environment,” Jacobs said. “If you have disruption because of a big geopolitical event, that’s a different story, but at the moment the environment is quite constructive.”

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To contact the author of this story with comments or news, email Paul Clarke