Earlier this year – before China’s stock rout, IPO freeze and currency devaluation – mainland investment bankers were increasingly deciding to take up advisory positions within expansionist private sector companies.
Now, with investment banking careers in China looking less stable in the face of recent market volatility, going in-house seems like an even wiser move. “I would say for the rest of this year we’ll see more bankers in China wanting corporate jobs and more of these roles opening up,” a Hong Kong headhunter told us yesterday.
In the most recent major bank-to-corporate move, Finance Asia reported on Tuesday that Winston Cheng, head of Asia technology, media and telecommunications at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, has left the US bank to join China’s LeTV Holdings as a senior vice president and head of corporate finance and development. “LeTV offers a good balance between listed and private fast-growth businesses in terms of risk and rewards,” said Cheng, a banker with 20 years’ experience who’s also worked at Goldman Sachs and Citi.
Larger Chinese companies continue to employ ex-bankers to devise acquisition-search strategies and conduct the initial due diligence on takeover targets. Last week Alibaba named former Goldman Sachs partner Michael Evans as its president, focusing on international expansion.
But while investment banks are notorious for making layoffs, corporates aren’t guarantors of job security either. Bankers are advised to research the longer-term viability of any in-house roles they apply for. “If your company is no longer looking at doing acquisitions, your job becomes a waste of time for them – I have seen many cases of this,” Eunice Ng, director of talent acquisition at headhunters Avanza Consulting in Hong Kong, told us previously.
Headcount at DBS’s institutional banking unit has almost doubled to 3,500, from 1,800 in 2009 – but growth is now slowing. (Business Times)
China’s yuan devaluation sets up showdown with traders. (Wall Street Journal)
Alibaba affiliate backs student-microloan start-up. (Wall Street Journal)
Hong Kong to see rooftop statues delayed by banker’s suicide. (South China Morning Post)
Is it time for ANZ chief Mike Smith to go? (Herald Sun)