Has anyone been staffed on a deal they had moral objections to?

Curious how people handled being staffed on a project with companies they didn't morally agree with. For example, a gaming/lodging merger for those that disapprove of gambling.

Did you request to move off the project? Stay on and ignore your morals?

No judgment here, just interested in learning how people handle these situations.

Comments ( 25 )

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
[Comment removed by mod team]
Most Helpful
bronzmonk , what's your opinion? Comment below:

Damn dude...the guy brought up a valid point that a moral and good human being should strive to have and you just outed yourself as a pos lmao

  • 17
  • 1
  • Prospect in IB-M&A

Analyst 2 in IB-M&A

Don't be a pussy and do your job. No one gives a shit about your moral objections and that will make you look terrible if you bring it up. Honestly with this type of question, I am 100 percent certain you won't be in finance very long.

least out-of-touch with humanity WSO user

  • 2
  • 1
analystfirstyear , what's your opinion? Comment below:

Analyst 2 in IB-M&A

Don't be a pussy and do your job. No one gives a shit about your moral objections and that will make you look terrible if you bring it up. Honestly with this type of question, I am 100 percent certain you won't be in finance very long.

Haha imagine getting staffed on the Altria Njoy deal and throwing a fit because you're against vaping

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A

Why join a REGAL group if you'd be at risk of being asked to work on something you morally object? Same with a consumer group with a strong alcohol / tobacco practice if you are generally anti-vice? I say you only have that card to pull once, if you just can't stomach working with that company - but don't expect to last long in your group if you're anti an entire vertical they focus on

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

I work in a fairly niche sub-vertical that occasionally requires me to work directly with law enforcement facing/ cop loving companies . A lot of ex police presence at some of these firms. Say whatever you want, I do not care and am prepared for the shit, but I got big into anarchistic economics as an undergrad and the police state we live in just isn't something I ethically jive with. I personally, morally and ethically, am completely against the current law enforcement system from top to bottom and believe there are a million better ways to do it.

That being said, I get paid to do a job, not espouse my personal beliefs to senior bankers and upper level management who know a fuck ton more than I do. As such, and truly in my opinion the only correct answer, is to keep your mouth shut. If it's something that goes against your religion, I'd argue differently as religious freedom is entirely important but there are few, if any, cases where that would come up (A sell-side of Porn Hub if you took a vow a celibacy, a cap raise for Only Fans if you're a conservative Muslim, a buy-side involving Kanye West if you're Jewish, etc. all imaginary but plausible and grounds for concern). 99% of the time what you do in that case, is your job; as an analyst, your job is to serve the client and turn powerpoint slides not raise the ethics of companies enabling and profiting off of alcohol/gambling addictions. There is an argument to be made at the Director /MD level about not pitching/accepting the mandate, but I don't think that's the question here.

There is an actual ethical dilemma in high finance in general to be raised about the actual economic value creation of our work, but that ties back to a lot of fundamentally communist belief that very few, if anyone, in finance subscribes to. This definitely is a thought provoking question and does raise a bit of a pandoras box about compromising your personal beliefs for a check, but in general it would be entirely rare for most of us.

  • 7
  • 11
Kevin25 , what's your opinion? Comment below:

bro you are a rich white kid. if not for law enforcement, you'd be robbed and killed long time ago. these guys voluntarily put their life on the line on a daily basis to keep your soft office ass safe.

  • 1
  • 1
momnpopshop , what's your opinion? Comment below:

why is shit like this allowed on this site? the world is going insane.


rabbit , what's your opinion? Comment below:

Fully agree. Unfortunately, its a bitter pill but you just have to swallow it. We're not paid to be moral police and so far, have not found a way around this other than to not pitch those names. As a junior, if you can sneak off the deal team for other reasons, good on you. Voicing moral concerns is not the way.

mech60 , what's your opinion? Comment below:

We had a staffer once who didn't want to work on a deal based on their ethnic identity/religion. It was a defense deal (not even a big one) and the relevant colleagues' family was living in the affected region that would be "impacted" by the funding/weapons/other.

Our management moved him to a different group and that was it.

And those kind of deals weren't even that common to begin with.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen

Can't give much detail but worked on a deal involving cattle farming in the Amazon border . It involved a substantial area of the forest being burned down. I hated myself for not saying anything

  • 1
md1988 , what's your opinion? Comment below:

I see you believe in your moral values. Do you believe more/less in the freedoms of America? That's a personal question only you can answer.

NotGaryGensler , what's your opinion? Comment below:

I object to certain mergers like T-mobile/Sprint or Albertsons/Kroger but I would never say anything. Doesn't look good professionally

ironman32 , what's your opinion? Comment below:

I play three games (four, but mainly three) in my head that are below:

1. how my friends afford their lifestyle

2. how a business stays solvent

3. where you/someone "draws the line".

Where you draw the line is a fun game because you can play it for other people or for yourself; meaning, say someone says they won't spend $100 on healthy food because its "too expensive" but easily blow past that at the bar; I see where you draw the line.

Point I'm relating back to is, at OP, with work like this, it becomes a game of where you draw the line. As people said above, its about the business not about the morals. For most businesses you can point to an ugly side to it. For example, gambling, I'd assume someone would object because someone can become addicted to it and most people who gamble can't afford to lose that money in the first place. What about say an apparel company, such as Lululemon, yes, you can't get addicted (maybe shopping addiction), but Lulu knows they are most likely selling some leggings to people who probably should be buying clothes at cheaper places; which in a way is the same as gambling, you run business where you know you shouldn't be taking some people's money but you do anyway. Probably same with say Starbucks ; overpriced and probably contribute to obesity. Maybe you object to all things above, maybe some, maybe none. My point is, if you go up or down the chain enough you'll find something you're against. Im not saying dont have morals, definitely stand up for what you believe in, don't do anything illegal, but realize the world will keep turning.

brickcage , what's your opinion? Comment below:

Assuming you are a junior person in an investment bank, that is generally not a role where you are afforded the luxury to make decisions based on your own personal sense of morality. You work for a firm that is going to make business decisions based on what is legally permissible and market appropriate, not based on what juniors think is right or wrong. And that will be true as a junior person working in any for-profit organization, to be honest. So yes - stay on and "ignore" your morals. But if you are even asking this question, you should probably re-evaluate your expectations.

  • Analyst 3+ in HF - RelVal

Lol. Meanwhile Corecivic went on to complete a successful debt raise led by smaller banks where the fee moved the needle on their bottom line.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen

I don't see why it would be a big deal to talk to the staffer and see if someone else can take on the project instead? If not and a switch would f someone else's situation, than maybe yea - eat the moral "loss" and take one for the team.

sjsjsj , what's your opinion? Comment below:


guy I worked with stepped out of analysing condom business due to his beliefs (catholic)

*pulled out

  • 3
  • Intern in IB-M&A

Did it impact his career at all? I'm a little worried about how things like that, plus not working on Sundays, may be taken (Catholic) - if one were otherwise a good performer, would they be looked down upon? Cheers

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov

The only deals I am morally objected to are ones that don't close… so to answer your question, yes all the time

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A

Yes. Was staffed on OF transaction. I was interested at first, prior to due diligence after that it was just morally wrong & disappointing

Kevin25 , what's your opinion? Comment below:

In quibusdam sunt optio. Dolor maxime praesentium labore ipsam rem unde. Reiciendis doloribus voluptatem esse esse.

Ab dolorum facilis repudiandae soluta ut dolore voluptatum. Corrupti recusandae aliquam ducimus omnis reprehenderit rem quia deserunt. Quisquam iste qui quis eius nemo deleniti nisi eos. Et velit est nulla animi ut. A suscipit dolorem saepe aperiam explicabo sapiente quae. Commodi laborum magni sit et accusamus possimus nostrum.

Asperiores quidem ipsa nostrum pariatur a odit. Ullam reprehenderit possimus id quia fugiat hic. Culpa soluta autem beatae repudiandae consequatur.

Five Star Man , what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ut et expedita nobis dolorum. Repellendus reprehenderit fugit cumque unde. Doloribus inventore eveniet autem explicabo. Voluptatem architecto et nesciunt doloribus ipsum et. Et perspiciatis perferendis atque mollitia officia corrupti architecto. Ipsum voluptatum consectetur eligendi exercitationem odit voluptatum. Dolore sed culpa aut doloremque.

Soluta voluptatem facere ea occaecati ex voluptas distinctio. Voluptas nihil nobis pariatur. Consequatur tempora saepe in impedit quis sint dicta alias. Omnis ratione provident minima possimus officiis. Ut culpa qui qui qui alias.

Iste non consequatur nesciunt officia sunt labore dolor. Recusandae est molestias eaque facere qui aut. Modi et soluta corrupti sapiente voluptatem voluptas.

Illo totam non omnis eos. Aut omnis sit incidunt soluta et ea voluptatem. Et ea accusantium eius voluptatem. Corrupti suscipit facere magni reiciendis ea. Vel neque reprehenderit consequatur. Sed eos a aut quibusdam.

Start Discussion

Career Advancement Opportunities

March 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres ( + + ) 99.5%
  • Jefferies & Company ( ▽01 ) 99.1%
  • Financial Technology Partners ( = = ) 98.6%
  • Lincoln International ( ▽02 ) 98.2%
  • William Blair ( ▲10 ) 97.7%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

March 2023 Investment Banking

  • William Blair ( ▲04 ) 99.5%
  • Canaccord Genuity ( ▲18 ) 99.1%
  • Lincoln International ( ▲09 ) 98.6%
  • Stephens Inc ( ▲10 ) 98.1%
  • Jefferies & Company ( ▲05 ) 97.7%

Professional Growth Opportunities

March 2023 Investment Banking

  • Financial Technology Partners ( ▲12 ) 99.5%
  • Lazard Freres ( ▲14 ) 99.1%
  • Lincoln International ( = = ) 98.6%
  • Jefferies & Company ( ▽03 ) 98.1%
  • William Blair ( ▲01 ) 97.7%

Total Avg Compensation

March 2023 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (6) $592
  • Vice President (26) $422
  • Associates (140) $260
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (9) $194
  • 1st Year Analyst (260) $171
  • 2nd Year Analyst (84) $170
  • Intern/Summer Associate (43) $164
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (192) $92