M&A analysts can bring alternative skill sets

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The local job market is reasonably tight at present, especially for merger and acquisition analysts but more players means more opportunities.

The corporate advisory arena in Australia has grown over the past few years - thanks to the emergence of more and more boutique corporate finance players. They are not just winning as many corporate deals as their colossal counterparts but are also becoming 'preferred employers'.

Barry Harte from recruiter Pentire Associates says it is not unusual for candidates to prefer working for smaller companies as they like the relatively flat management structure. "If they want to talk to someone with authority, then that person is likely to be just around the corner versus the head person at a large organization who could be based in an office in London or New York."

In addition, these niche players are also competing favourably with the big shops in terms of salary packages.

Despite great salaries, plus the large range of banks to work for, local M&A analysts are a rare commodity at the moment. Harte, who is recruiting for an analyst position in Sydney, says that although he has received a good response, most candidates are applying from overseas in countries such as the US, the UK and Hong Kong.

Think outside the box

When it comes to 'traditional' M&A analysts in Australia, the reservoir may be at considerably low levels but we're not experiencing a full-blown drought. For example, if a firm doesn't want to hire an offshore candidate (owing to issues such as relocation or visa costs), Harte says firms are flexible with recruiting people from allied professions (such as equity research) as there is an overlap of skill sets.

Further, Harte said this cross-over is particularly common with junior roles. For example, a candidate from another area of the finance world who has excellent modeling or valuation experience can transition over.

In terms of salaries, a junior M&A analyst with a couple of years experience could expect a base salary of A$100,000 with a very substantial bonus. Meanwhile, an associate M&A analyst could earn a base of A$125,000 with again, a lucrative bonus.

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