Broadly speaking, there are two types of groups within a typical investment bank (or investment banking division): product groups and industry groups (also called sector groups or domains). The three most well known product groups are mergers and acquisitions (M&A), leveraged finance (lev fin) and restructuring. Bankers in product groups have product knowledge and tend to execute transactions (respectively, M&A transactions, leveraged buyouts (LBO’s) and restructuring transactions/bankruptcies).
Bankers in industry groups cover specific industries and tend to do more marketing activity (pitching). Industry bankers tend also to have more of the relationships with companies’ senior management than do product bankers (though some senior product bankers have excellent relationships as well). Examples of common industry groups include FIG (Financial Institutions Group), Healthcare, Consumer/Retail, Industrials, Energy and Utilities, Natural Resources, TMT (Telecom, Media and Technology), Gaming and Lodging and Real Estate. Often subgroups exist within the broader group. For example, a Healthcare group may be segregated into biotechnology, medical devices, managed care, pharma, etc. Though not covering a specific industry, one other group that falls under the category of “industry” groups is Financial Sponsors. Bankers in a Financial Sponsors group cover (have relationships with and market their services to) private equity firms.