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A Wall Street David has upstaged the Goliaths.

So far this year, boutique investment bank Centerview Partners handled nearly 20 deals with a total value that outpaced Wall Street titans like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, the Financial Times reported.

Taking the Bronze Medal

This time last year, Centerview ranked 14th among global M&A advisors, but it now sits at 3rd. It's the highest spot achieved by an independent investment bank in decades. The group facilitated 18 deals this past quarter – much fewer than JPMorgan's 60 and Goldman Sachs' 59 – but the total value of those deals was roughly $94 billion, almost 30% more than last quarter's number two, Morgan Stanley:

  • After the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse, Centerview was hired to advise on the sale of each lender's assets.
  • It was also the sole advisor on a merger that saw Pfizer purchase oncology-focused biotech company Seagen for $43 billion. It was the largest deal of the quarter.

"Independents have always been the smarter option," Lazard CEO Kenneth Jacobs, told the FT. "The agility and the advice-focused model are what clients need in challenging times."

Keep it simple: Full-service investment banks tend to have multiple specialties like commercial banking, retail banking, asset management, and equity research. But a boutique bank tries to focus on just one field. In Centerview's case, its mergers and acquisitions, and that narrow focus appears to be paying off. This is especially sweet for Centerview co-founder Blair Effron, a former UBS rainmaker who has eclipsed his beleaguered firm this year.