The bonanza of M&A deals and IPOs we experienced during the start of the pandemic has dried out.
On the M&A side, global market turbulence has affected the number of mergers and acquisitions transactions and the revenue generated by fees. In the last quarter of 2022, Goldman Sachs saw investment banking fees drop by 48%. These figures lead experts to believe that it will take some time to get back to the number of yearly transactions from years past.
Based on these predictions and market realities, investment banking firms and other large financial services institutions should focus on implementing the right technologies, innovations, and processes to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and gain an advantage in this competitive market.
Historically, larger investment banks and other financial institutions have developed technologies in-house for various uses, such as risk management, compliance, trading, etc. Creating proprietary systems and technology ecosystems might work for some large institutions, but it’s prohibitively expensive for most middle-market and boutique investment banks.
Thankfully, multiple technology providers focus on creating high-tech products for the investment banking industry. By relying on different technologies, especially automation and artificial intelligence, investment banks can punch above their weight, remain competitive, and thrive during these times.
In this guide, we go over the top investment banking software systems bankers should consider implementing.
Some of the essential tools, such as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint, email, and even Bloomberg terminals, are table stakes, and every bank should be using them. However, other technologies can complement them to optimize your workflow and make you a more efficient dealmaker.
List of Investment Banking Software Tools
Virtual Data Rooms (VDR)
Whether it is a merger, an IPO, or a placement, most deals involve troves of data and thousands of documents. As firms adopt more technology and generate more data, the volume of information in a typical transaction will continue to grow, meaning all the data exchanged and generated during a transaction needs to be secure and protected.
A virtual data room is a secure storage space to store, organize, and share all the financial, legal, and other documents and data, especially during a transaction’s due diligence process.
With a Virtual Data Room (VDR), buy-side and sell-side deal teams can significantly speed up the due diligence process without traveling to site locations and sorting through filing cabinets.
Additionally, VDRs increase collaboration between deal stakeholders and improve transparency and accountability by tracking tasks and how much time is spent on specific items. In short, VDRs are essential technologies every deal-making team needs.
VDR Providers for Investment Banks
DealRoom’s Virtual Data Room (VDR) is used by firms in the capital markets to facilitate secure document storage and collaboration. It allows easy document management, in-platform file viewing, and customizable permissions for controlled access, ensuring efficiency and security in handling confidential information.
Intralinks VDR Pro is designed to accelerate M&A deals by providing a secure virtual data room for document storage and collaboration. It features AI-assisted setup, preconfigured workflows, real-time insights on buyer interest, and an intuitive interface.
Is a secure platform designed for storing and sharing transaction documents and files, particularly tailored for mergers and acquisitions (M&A). It is a centralized platform where parties can access and request information, ensuring a streamlined and organized process for due diligence and other activities.
Is a widely utilized platform, hosting over 20,000 new data room projects annually, designed to facilitate deal transactions, diligence, and compliance processes securely. It provides a robust and secure environment for document sharing, with features like advanced document sharing, intuitive user management, document watermarking, and restricted viewing.
Relationship Intelligence (RI) CRM Software
Investment banking is all about relationships.
To successfully execute a transaction, bankers need to know the people selling or buying companies and have good relationships with them or know someone who can make a warm introduction.
Keeping track and following up with key relationships is a challenging task. Spending dozens of hours per week manually updating spreadsheets or generic customer relationship management software (CRM) is not the best use of a banker’s time, plus there is always the risk of losing data if it’s kept in bloated, out-of-date spreadsheets.
Most investment bankers have lost deals due to siloed data, lack of follow-up, and their teams lacking access to up-to-date information. Leveraging automation and artificial intelligence can build stronger client and stakeholder relationships while ensuring key details don’t fall through the cracks.
Relationship intelligence CRMs have been designed for investment bankers to access a purpose-built deal management system that connects buyers and sellers by leveraging the power of your firm’s long-standing relationships.
Systems such as 4Degrees analyze the strength of your team’s collective networks to surface warm introductions and identify the best path to prospective buyers or management teams. By serving as your firm’s central source of truth, 4Degrees ensures your team has a 360-degree view of your firm’s relationships and the entire deal process, keeping the whole firm on the same page.
As part of its automation functionality, 4Degrees eliminates busywork by automatically capturing all interactions by syncing with your email and enriching contact and company data, empowering teams to spend more time building relationships, providing advisory services, etc.
At 4Degrees, we have designed a Software as a Service (SaaS) relationship intelligence platform for investment bankers and other financial services industries, including venture capital and private equity.
Click here to learn more about pricing or schedule a personalized demo.
Project Management Systems
Investment bankers engage in deals that are, in essence, projects with multiple stakeholders (issuers, investors, banks) and details.
A project management system is crucial to ensure the project is completed efficiently. These tools ensure all parts of the project, such as determining valuations, conducting due diligence, legal reviews, and other tasks, have been completed while allowing managing directors and other leaders to assign tasks and responsibilities to specific teams or individuals.
Firms can use a relationship intelligence system such as 4Degrees to manage the different stages of a deal and get real-time data on where each transaction stands and what needs to be done.
Other generic systems, including Sharepoint or Microsoft Project, can also be used. Smaller firms looking for more lightweight app tools should consider tools like Asana and Trello and other startups in the space.
Most investment bankers use one or various research tools, including Pitchbook, Capital IQ, or a Bloomberg terminal. Although extremely powerful, some smaller firms might not be able to afford the expensive costs of having access to these tools.
These systems allow bankers to access key documents, financial statements, risk analytics, charting tools, and other tools to analyze large amounts of data and shape their investing process.
Fortunately, other less expensive alternatives can empower your firm with the data it needs to remain competitive and find deals where it can add value and provide advisory services. Tools such as Factset, Refinitiv, MergerMarket, SourceScrub, Alphasense, and YCharts, among other startups, can be great alternatives to the previously mentioned costly research tools.
Depending on the sector and size of deals your firm specializes in, you can find the right research tool that fits your needs and budget.
M&A transactions require collaboration between the parties involved, and being connected and on the same page is necessary to ensure the transaction flows smoothly and is concluded on schedule.
Well-known software vendors such as Microsoft have recognized the value of collaboration by launching products such as Teams to increase team collaboration. Other players include:
Slack is a cloud-based collaboration platform that offers channels where team members can communicate and collaborate in real time. Slack can integrate with various financial software and tools banks use, streamlining workflows and reducing the need to switch between applications.
Yammer is a social networking tool designed for businesses and is part of the Microsoft 365 suite. It provides a platform for employees to collaborate, share updates, and communicate like social media platforms but within a private organizational network. Yammer is structured around groups, allowing departments, project teams, or any other group within a company to have dedicated spaces for communication. Do you want to know whether to use Yammer or Teams? Check out this article.
Microsoft Teams provides a unified collaboration platform tailored for investment banking teams. Its robust security features ensure the confidentiality of sensitive financial data. The platform seamlessly integrates with essential Microsoft 365 applications, facilitating real-time collaboration on documents and efficient virtual meetings.
Deal origination is getting more challenging for investment banks still relying on antiquated processes and technologies. Although Excel is a very effective tool, it is no match for purpose build relationship management software (CRM), VDRs, and collaboration systems. Investment bankers should consider implementing these relatively inexpensive technologies to stay ahead of the curve and gain an edge.