When Facebook was in the midst of choosing financial firms to handle its IPO, bankers pulled out all the stops. Some bankers who weren’t even involved in IPOs were asked to set up a Facebook account as part of the effort to get their firm hired, according to sources.
It remains to be seen whether a similar request will be made of bankers for Twitter’s highly anticipated IPO, which will spark fierce competition among the banks. If bankers want to use Twitter or Facebook in a professional capacity, they have to follow internal compliance rules, US Securities and Exchange Commission guidelines and other standards to prevent them from disclosing confidential information. Therefore, few bankers use social media professionally, and the ones who do tweet about broad trends and other generalities, not specific clients or deals.
Some, if not all of the bankers listed here have a good shot of working on Twitter’s IPO (they were also involved with Facebook) but most have been using it, for private purposes, since long before the possibility of Twitter going public became a reality. For tech bankers, in particular, it’s important to be part of the biggest trends in their sector.
One of the first and one of the few to use it professionally is Deutsche Bank managing director Ted Tobiason, who focuses on tech equity transactions, like IPOs, and has built up a following of nearly 2,000 people on Twitter. It took about six months for him to get the OK from Deutsche Bank to be on Twitter professionally and he began tweeting in January 2012.
The tweets are usually an extension of his technology IPO research, which he began sending out to a group of people via email more than 10 years ago. Because he has to submit his Twitter observations to Deutsche Bank for compliance purposes, he tweets in batches. He offers comments like this one:
JP Morgan’s Noah Wintroub, who is global head of internet and digital media, also lists his profession on his Twitter profile. But he uses Twitter more for personal purposes, although he occasionally comments about trends in the technology sector, as in this tweet:
More bankers on Twitter use it personally, like Michael Grimes, Morgan Stanley’s star tech banker who led Facebook’s IPO. He’s only tweeted about 40 times over four years, mostly about sports. He also follows some of his IPO clients, like Zynga and Groupon.
Nick Giovanni, Goldman’s head of internet banking, has been a bit more prolific on Twitter, with more than 500 tweets, many of them commenting on sports. However, he occasionally retweets observations on the tech sector and startup scene, such as this comment from Bill Gurley of the Benchmark venture capital firm:
One former banker who is probably encouraged to tweet now is Cynthia Gaylor, who worked at Morgan Stanley and is now Twitter’s head of corporate development. She’s tweeted more than 70 times since joining Twitter in May—admittedly still pretty slow for someone who works at Twitter.