It’s the depths of the fourth quarter – a time when global banks in Asia are planning their hiring for next year rather than opening up new roles. Meanwhile, at some firms – Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered chief among them – investment banking jobs are currently being cut.
So is it still possible to get a front-office investment banking or trading job in Hong Kong or Singapore before Christmas? We’ve trawled through the career sites of the major international banks to find out. While some of them have no roles on offer, others do have one, two or a handful of vacancies – mainly at associate level.
Here’s our pick of the IBD roles still available in Asia.
The Swiss firm announced major job cuts in investment banking only last week, but it still has four IBD vacancies across Hong Kong and Singapore – more than most of its rivals. In Singapore, for example, it needs a corporate finance associate. This is a generalist role product-wise and calls for strong M&A, equity and debt deal experience. But it doesn’t appear to be a job for an analyst looking to step up – as well as a track record in execution (don’t forget to attach a deal sheet when applying) Credit Suisse demands that you have experience of actually leading a deal. Although this is a regional role covering Southeast Asia, no local language skills are required – CS instead emphasises technical and team-working skills.
HSBC may be synonymous with the Hong Kong finance sector, but it currently only has one IBD role on offer in the territory – an associate in its strategic transactions group. You’ll be assisting in the “origination and execution of corporate advisory and capital raising transactions” as well as supporting seniors with pitching materials. This role focuses on the transport, services and infrastructure sectors in Asia, but HSBC is open to candidates with a generalist corporate finance background and zero experience covering these areas. Those looking to get some industry expertise under their belt should give this job serious consideration. Unusually for a Hong Kong-based position these days, being able to speak Mandarin is only a “plus”, not an “absolute requisite”.
J.P. Morgan is having a so-so 2015 in Asian IBD – it ranks 8th in M&A, 7th in ECM and 3rd in DCM so far this year, according to Dealogic figures. Yet it’s a stand-out performer in terms of current vacancies – with around 10 roles on offer (all of them are in Hong Kong, however). And contrary to the market trend, it actually has an opening above associate level – a VP in its consumer coverage group. You’ll have direct client responsibilities, lead projects, and supervise associates and analysts on the execution and marketing of M&A, equity and financing mandates. An MBA and post-MBA experience will increase your chances of getting this job. Consumer coverage experience is mandatory.
Goldman began 2015 by cutting about 15 senior investment banking jobs in Singapore in response to falling revenues in Southeast Asia. It’s now hiring again in the city state…but only for one role – an associate in its Southeast Asian Group. You’ll need at least three years’ experience and since this is a regional position you must convince Goldman of your ability to “work effectively with team members in multiple groups”. Generalist IBD experience is probably an advantage as the SEA team works across products, including M&A, debt and equity financing, structured finance, and co-investing. Inevitably, you’ll have to be an excellent interviewee (this is Goldman; this is the only Goldman IBD job going locally) and you need not even apply without a stellar academic record.
Morgan Stanley is not exactly brimming with front-office jobs in Asia right now – one of the few going is an institutional equity sales assistant (at either analyst or associate level) on the Hong Kong cash equities desk. The fact that “Mandarin-speaking” is in the title of the advertisement shows just how important mainland clients are to this position – you’ll even need to “accompany them” on company visits around China. This is a relationship-focused role and there’s a lot of grunt work involved: you’ll need to set up events, conference calls, marketing lunches and analyst meetings, for example. However, with mainland networks increasingly crucial to banking careers in Hong Kong, this job could well be a stepping stone to something better in the near future.
Stan Chart may be cutting 1,000 senior employees, but it’s still advertising more than 550 vacancies across the firm. How many of them are in front-office investment banking in Singapore or Hong Kong? One – an associate in financial institutions coverage. The responsibility to experience-required ratio will make this role especially attractive to analysts looking to step up. If you’ve worked just two years in IBD, preferably in the FI sector, you could move into a job that adds origination (you’ll take charge of creating marketing materials) experience to your resume. You’ll get to work across M&A, corporate advisory, and “opportunistic capital markets transactions with prominent FI clients”.