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Boutique bank PWP cut heads, paid the survivors less

Perella Weinberg Partners (PWP) published its Q1 results today. They… Weren’t great.

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PWP was paying some colossal pay packages by the end of 2023. Those pay packages didn't look very affordable: they consumed 94% of revenues last year. They also don't look affordable now: pay was 113% of revenues at the firm in the first quarter of 2024.

PWP is doing what all good employers do in the circumstances: cutting heads. It doesn't disclose headcount figures as liberally as other banks, but PWP reported at the end of 2023 that it had “approximately 700” employees in 10 global offices. That number has now changed to “more than 650.” It made cuts last year as well, mostly to its junior ranks. It seems more have happened this year, too.

Survivors of PWP's cuts appear to have received an average of $178k per head in compensation in Q1. That’s a solid number, and higher than Evercore’s, but it’s actually less than the $181k or so it paid on average per head last year.

PWP is notably high-paying, even among the high-paying. It pays significantly more for juniors than pretty much any of its peers: a first-year associate, potentially as young as 23, could be earning $600k in total compensation there.

There may be more cuts to come. PWP noted a revenue decline of 22%, which it blamed on M&A revenue “due to elongated transaction closing timelines.” Its operating loss posted more than doubled from last year, too - from $23m to $54m.

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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