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Capital Structure: What Is It?

What's the Difference? Investment Banking vs Private Equity

 A comparison between private equity and investment banking

Investment banking and private equity both generate money for investments, but they do it in very different ways. Private equity firms assemble wealthy investors' money and search for opportunities to invest in other companies. Investment banks identify companies, and then they search the capital markets for strategies to raise money from the investing public.

Investment Banking

The generation of capital for other businesses, governments, and other organizations is the focus of the particular branch of banking known as investment banking. Investment banks deal with the selling of securities, mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, and broker transactions for both institutions and individual investors. They also underwrite new debt and equity securities for all kinds of firms. Investment banks also provide companies advice on stock issuance and placement. Investment banking employs a wide range of people, including consultants, banking analysts, capital market analysts, research associates, trading specialists, and many more. Each requires a certain degree of training and expertise.

For any financial job, a degree in finance, economics, accounting, or mathematics is a solid place to start. In fact, for many entry-level commercial banking jobs like teller or personal banker, this can be all you need. Those who are interested in investment banking should seriously consider earning an MBA or other professional credentials.

Any banking job benefits greatly from having strong people skills. Even devoted research analysts spend a significant amount of time working in teams or providing counselling to customers. While certain jobs call for more of a sales touch than others, it's important to feel at ease in a work-related social setting. Communication abilities (explaining ideas to customers or other departments) and a high level of initiative are additional crucial qualities.

Personal Equity

At its most basic level, private equity is ownership (represented by shares) in a company that is not publicly traded or listed. High net worth people and businesses are one source of private equity, which is a source of funding for investments. In order to take public corporations private and eventually delist them from stock exchanges, these investors purchase shares of private companies or seize control of publicly traded ones. The private equity industry is dominated by major institutional investors, such as pension funds and sizable private equity companies backed by a group of authorized investors.

Because both venture capital and private equity relate to organizations that invest in businesses and exit via the sale of their interests through equity financing, such as initial public offerings, the terms are sometimes misconstrued (IPOs). The businesses that participate in the two sources of finance, however, operate quite differently.

Private equity and venture capital engage in various kinds and sizes of businesses, put down various sums of money, and stake various amounts of stock in the businesses they finance.

Sell-Side Contrast Buy-Side

Investment bankers market company interest to investors, which is a function of their sell-side employment. Corporations and individual businesses make up the majority of their clientele. When a business wants to go public or is negotiating a merger and acquisition agreement, it could ask an investment bank for assistance.

Private equity associates, on the other hand, operate on the buy-side. They purchase firm shares on behalf of investors who have already invested the money. Private equity firms may invest in controlling positions in other businesses and have a direct role in management choices.

Regulatory Challenges

The world's first and only nation to compel the separation of investment banking from commercial banking was the United States in 1933. The next 66 years saw a total separation between commercial banking operations like accepting deposits and disbursing loans and investment banking activity. As a result of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, these obstacles were eliminated. Investment banks continue to be subject to rigorous regulations, most notably proprietary trading limitations imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.

Similar to hedge fund investment, private equity has long been exempt from the majority of the laws that affect banks and publicly listed companies. A lax regulatory approach is justified by the fact that the majority of private equity investors are well-educated, rich, and capable of taking care of themselves. Dodd-Frank, however, granted the SEC permission to exert more regulation over private equity. The first regulatory body for private equity was established in 2012. The taxes of private equity operations and advisory fees have received particular scrutiny.


Compared to private equity research, investment banking analysis is significantly more meticulous, abstract, and hazy. The compliance concerns investment banks confront help to explain some of this as it might be seen as deceptive to portray a picture that is too particular or too positive.

Another factor is that associates in private equity are considerably more likely to have "skin in the game," to use the phrase. Private equity analysts often go farther and more critically since their own money is on the line and their clients are less patient.


Compared to their colleagues in investment banking, the informal stories of a private equity associate's lifestyle seem to be considerably more forgiving and balanced. Investment banking culture is reflected in the rigid, suit-and-tie, 14-hour, high-stress corporate culture made prominent in movies and television.

Private equity businesses often employ fewer people and are more picky about who they hire. However, after a hiring has been made, they are less concerned about how performance is kept up. Every business has its share of outliers and overlaps, but in general, the typical day is a little less stressful for private equity colleagues.


Are investment banking and private equity the same thing?

What is private equity and how does it differ? Simply said, private equity is an investing company, while investment banking is a capital raising and advice service. An investment bank provides customers with advice on business decisions such as mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, and capital raising.

What is the primary drawback of investing in private equity?

The absence of liquidity is one of private equity's key drawbacks. Private equity investments are more difficult to turn into cash than publicly listed equities and bonds. Due to this, it may be difficult for investors to sell their holdings if necessary.

Why is investing in private equity risky?

Risk of liquidity: Investors are exposed to the asset liquidity risk of selling private equity partnership interests in the secondary market for less than the stated NAV due to the illiquidity of these interests. Market risk: The value of the assets kept in the portfolio is impacted by market fluctuations.
 What is private equity's weak point?

Debt. By design, private equity firms borrow a significant amount of money to conduct transactions on the financial markets. In addition to the target firm, investors, and the financial markets as a whole may also suffer from this.

How do investors in private equity earn money?

For the benefit of the fund's investors, private equity firms spend the money they raise by often acquiring controlling shares in businesses. The private equity firm then collaborates with corporate leaders to increase the value of the firms, known as portfolio companies, in order to sell them at a profit in the future.

The advantages of investment banking over consulting

"Investment banking provides greater access to financing exit options in private equity, hedge funds, and corporate growth, while management consulting provides wider exit opportunities not just in finance but also in strategy, operations, non-profits, startups, and more"