It’s the second half of the year and you’re a 20-something front-office banker in Hong Kong. The post-bonus hiring season is well and truly over and the mainland Chinese market is getting hammered. It doesn’t seem like a great time to look for an analyst or associate job at a global investment bank in the territory.
Banks are indeed not offering up many junior vacancies in Hong Kong right now – but if you’re determined to move in the coming months, there are still opportunities out there. We looked through banks’ careers website to find six front-office IBD jobs that might whet your appetite.
The bank that ranked second behind Goldman Sachs for APAC ex-Japan M&A deals in 2014 (and first the year before) now appears short on junior staff in Hong Kong. It is running a rather unusual single advertisement for an unspecified number of new analysts and associates. But this is no graduate training programme – you must have a “track record of success” and will be “expected to perform transaction execution and financial analysis immediately”. The associate roles come with some managerial clout, including leading “day-to-day project management” and providing “training, mentorship and guidance” to analysts.
While FIG specialists are “preferred” for this job, BAML is leaving the door open for star performers with four to five years’ general experience in M&A, corporate finance or both. If you want to break into a sector where bankers are in comparatively high demand and short supply in Hong Kong, this could be your chance. BAML stresses the need for “outstanding qualitative analytical skills” a “willingness to train and mentor analysts” and “confidence in client-facing communications” in this role.
Credit Suisse may be focused on building up its private bank in Asia, but it’s still hiring in a more modest way (it has two vacancies) for its investment bank in Hong Kong. This is a job within the consumer and retail and healthcare (CRH) team, focused on providing clients with a “pitch-to-closing-transaction experience” and on working with senior bankers to dream up new pitch ideas. While three years of working in investment banking is a minimum requirement, sector experience – especially in healthcare – is a “significant positive”. If you don’t already cover CRH, we suspect you will find it tough to land this job and you will definitely be out of the running if you’re not fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and English (reading, writing and speaking).
These are not days of heady IBD hiring for Goldman in Asia – the firm cut 15 jobs in Singapore earlier this year and has only three IBD vacancies in Hong Kong right now. Expect frighteningly high competition if you apply – Goldman prefers to groom is own junior talent and analyst openings are hard to come by. Moreover, with IPO volumes in Hong Kong expected to hit the rocks over the next six months, there will be plenty of other young ECM bankers looking to find a more secure new home at Goldman. You will need two years’ banking or capital markets experience, preferably at another bulge bracket, and Mandarin is “an advantage” (read: you must speak Mandarin).
Want to help acquisition-hungry Chinese companies expand overseas and to work for a global bank whose headquarters might be based in Hong Kong within the next few years? HSBC has an opening for a native Mandarin speaker in its M&A team. The role involves pitch-book preparation and quantitative analysis, but you will also get to “interact with clients and various levels of management, and act as an integral part of the engagement team”. Chinese corporates are increasingly poaching mid-level bankers into their own M&A teams, so establishing a strong career with HSBC could provide a good platform for a future move in-house.
J.P. Morgan has 15 Hong Kong openings in its corporate and investment bank, but just one if you work in M&A. Unsurprisingly, the firm is only looking to attract elite candidates. A brilliant track record in M&A is not enough – you must also have an education from a “top-tier” university. Your language skills could also help you win this position – Mandarin and English are compulsory, while another Asian language will stand you in good stead. The usual associate-level stuff is involved in this job: financial modelling, due diligence, market research, but you will get to support your seniors in deal origination – not just execution.