Few major deals happen without the engagement and advice of investment bankers. Whether a company is undertaking an initial public offering or engaging in a large merger or acquisition deal, investment bankers play a central role in advising corporate executives. Successful investment bankers are devoted to cultivating relationships with executives. And these relationships place bankers in a position to earn tens of millions in fees for their advisory and service roles in connection with corporate dealmaking. Investment bankers’ constant endeavors to nurture relationships with executives, while also maximizing their own ability to enhance fees, commonly leads to allegations of double-dealing, self-dealing, and conflicts of interests. Beyond such conflicts, however, investment banking faces two additional issues as society grapples with rising expectations around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). First, investment banking has a deeply rooted gender divide. Relying on hand-collected data, this Article reveals the dramatic gender gap at investment banks, including the most prominent boutique investment banks advising corporate executives. Second, the culture and accepted practices of investment banking reinforce masculine norms and bias against women in banking. This Article argues that not only do these issues hinder gender equity in investment banking as a profession, but they also influence the relationship between bankers and corporate executives. Bankers often serve as one of the most crucial advisors to corporate executives, and the norms and divides of investment banking calibrate corporate cultures and values in the C-suite, thus enabling the continued gender gap in corporate America.

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