The best (and worst) performing banks to work for in Asia

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The best (and worst) performing banks to work for in Asia

The post-bonus busy(ish) hiring season for investment banks in Hong Kong and Singapore is only weeks away. If you’re wondering which banks to apply to, one of the factors you’re probably weighing up is how well they performed last year – you don’t want to join a firm that’s potentially on a downwards trajectory.

Dealogic has just released its league table for Asia (ex-Japan) investment banking revenue for the whole of 2019, and we’ve published it below. It shows that Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse are no longer ranked among the top-three banks (as they were in 2018), and that the upper echelons of the table are taken by Chinese firms: CITIC Securities, CICC, and China Securities (in that order).

While CITIC is the chart topper (with a 5.8% market share and $578m in revenues), third-placed China Securities has racked up the most impressive year-on-year rise – it’s up four places. Among Western banks, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Citi are all within one spot of their 2018 rankings. Goldman Sachs, by contrast, fell from first to seventh over the course of 12 months. Guotai Junan Securities and Haitong Securities are the new entrants to this elite group of IB revenue generators.

These results don’t necessarily mean you should rush out and apply to Chinese banks, whose working cultures and bonus arrangements differ significantly from those of US and European firms. But they do suggest that mainland banks may offer more secure jobs thanks to their deal-making clout.

CITIC also leads the pack in Dealogic’s separate Asia debt capital markets (DCM) ranking (a subset of the overall IB one below). The Asia ex-Japan DCM market is now the domain of Chinese banks. China Securities and Haitong Securities finish second and third, respectively, for DCM, while the best-placed global bank is HSBC in seventh. China is dominating the DCM market across Asia because its debt issuance has soared, and Chinese banks have cashed-in as a result, although they have also undercut the underwriting fees of Western banks.

Perhaps even more ominously for international banks, Chinese firms have recently risen up the ranks in equity capital markets (ECM) in Asia ex-Japan. CITIC is the number-one bank in the region for ECM – and it’s up five places year-on-year, thanks to its 7.6% market share. CICC was fifth in 2018, but is second in Dealogic’s new ECM league table. These two mainland banks have displaced the ECM top-two from 2018: Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley (which are now in fourth and third positions, respectively). China Securities comes fifth for 2019 Asia (ex-Japan) ECM revenue, up three places.

If you work in Asia (ex-Japan) M&A, however, chances are that you’ll still want to be based at a global firm. Of the Chinese institutions, CICC and CITIC make the top-10 banks – in sixth and tenth positions, respectively. Chinese banks are losing out on cross-border M&A deals to international banks, which have better global networks and industry expertise.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America (in that order) are the top-three M&A banks in Asia for 2019. BoA is up from a relatively lowly eight place in 2018.

Photo by Pietro Mattia on Unsplash

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