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IPO boom brings more i-banking jobs to China

In the first half of 2010, there were 176 IPOs in China. During the same time last year, there were none. Recruiters say this recent surge has driven up demand for front-office investment bankers in the mainland.

Of the foreign investment banks operating in China, Goldman Sachs has been particularly aggressive in recruiting to help expand its capacity to bring IPOs to the market.

Rio Goh, Shanghai-based senior consultant for finance at Michael Page International, says the new round of IPOs in China has driven up vacancies for investment bankers in Shanghai and Beijing by as much as 15 per cent. He adds, however, that growth in i-banking jobs has been limited by regulation because foreign firms must seek regulatory approval to expand.

Among the roles which have seen the greatest increase in demand because of IPOs are equity research analysts, especially candidates with at least four years’ experience and a background in auditing.

But the recruitment rise hasn’t yet translated into pay increases. “Candidates who have an opportunity to join investment banks, especially the bulge bracket ones, are keen to take a pay cut. It’s still a very interesting market for candidates, and not as well developed as commercial banking,” says Goh.

May Tung, DHR International’s managing director for Asia Pacific financial services practice, says the demand is not only for bankers with technical knowledge to carry out IPO work, but also for those with a good network of potential clients.

Candidates in the FIG, consumer and industrial, and energy sectors are especially sought after, adds Tung.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has forecasted that China is expected to raise over 500bn yuan in 2010, making it the world’s largest IPO market.

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