If you are looking for a front office investment banking job in Hong Kong, your search is unlikely to be straight forward, especially if you’re senior. Banks including Standard Chartered, Nomura and Macquarie have trimmed IBD jobs in Hong Kong this year, although this hasn’t triggered drastic headcount cuts across the sector.
Investment banking recruitment has not ground to a halt, but nor is could it be described as buoyant. We’ve trawled through their careers websites to see which of the major global investment banks in Hong Kong are still advertising front-office roles (Barclays and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are among those with no such vacancies). Competition will be tough, but you could be one of the lucky few.
Goldman Sachs has about 5,000 employees in Asia Pacific – and that’s excluding its operations and IT hubs in India – but across the region it has a mere five IBD vacancies: two in Sydney, two in Beijing and one in Hong Kong. However, the Hong Kong job, an ECM analyst, is a rare opportunity for someone to get into Goldman with potentially just two years capital markets experience. Expect sky-high competition if you’re applying for this one.
With potential job cuts to its investment bank on the horizon, this may not seem like a great time to be joining Deutsche – but the firm does have three Hong Kong jobs advertised in corporate finance. The most junior, an analyst-level role, is likely to attract a torrent of CVs because it gives young bankers both M&A and DCM execution experience, and the chance to help out on origination work at an early stage in their career.
There’s one front-office IBD job at J.P.Morgan in Hong Kong right now, an M&A associate. Senior M&A specialists who can advise private mainland companies making overseas acquisitions are in strong demand, so getting this job could set you up for a lucrative future. As with virtually all China-focused M&A jobs these days, this position doesn’t just require excellent modelling and execution skills – you must speak Mandarin.
The US bank has two jobs in Hong Kong, both in M&A – and its “China coverage associate” seems a particularly attractive position. The need for mainland expertise appears to be even stronger than the J.P. Morgan role above – you must have an understanding of China capital market transactions and Chinese clients, not just be able to speak Mandarin.
UBS’s Asian hiring is increasingly focused on its expanding wealth management division, but vacancies remain in Hong Kong investment banking – but only two of them. The Swiss bank is setting high standards for its new recruits, however. A full five years’ IBD experience is required for one of these jobs and you don’t even make associate – it's still an analyst-level position.
HSBC may have in 286 jobs in Hong Kong alone, but only two of them are in investment banking. The firm needs an associate with a generalist corporate finance background in Hong Kong, for example. This appears to be a nose-to-grindstone job – financial modelling, valuation and Microsoft Office are all key skills. But mainland Chinese experience isn’t necessarily as you 'only' need to speak Cantonese and English.
Want to join the firm that ranked behind only Goldman Sachs in the Bloomberg Asia ex-Japan M&A league table last year? Unfortunately, you have just one choice in IBD right now in Hong Kong: “global markets front office tactical developer”. Acting as a bridge between the front-office and the middle-office/IT, you’ll need to understand exotic modelling and trade execution as well as have more mundane skills in booking and documentation.
There aren’t any front-office advisory or capital markets jobs at Credit Suisse in Hong Kong at the moment, although there are vacancies in trading and research. The Swiss bank is, however, looking for an in-house investment banking recruiter, suggesting that it has more IBD jobs to fill in the near future, despite its recent pivot towards private banking. Investment bankers who’ve recently lost their jobs in Hong Kong may even like to apply.