If you’re thinking about applying for a Hong Kong-based investment banking job between now and Chinese New Year, good luck. The period leading up to CNY is traditionally quiet on the job front because not all banks have paid bonuses, but headhunters say vacancies are particularly thin on the ground now. Most global banks – from Bank of America to UBS – aren’t advertising any front-office roles in M&A, equity capital markets (ECM), or debt capital markets (DCM) on their Hong Kong careers sites.
There are a few exceptions, however. Goldman Sachs has two front-office vacancies in its investment banking division, both of them junior jobs for Mandarin speakers. You’ll need three years of experience for the ECM associate job. Demand for ECM bankers remains comparatively strong in Hong Kong as banks look to win market share from Chinese companies listing in the city. There’s also an opening at Goldman for a China advisory banker at analyst or associate level.
JPMorgan has one Hong Kong-based front-office opening in global investment banking: an M&A associate/vice president. Candidates should ideally have experience “working with senior clients, leading M&A process workstreams, and be familiar with key aspects of negotiating legal M&A documents”, according to JPM’s careers site. Mandarin is also a must.
At Citi, there is a vacancy for a vice president in investment banking real estate. In this role, you’ll assist real estate clients in greater China to raise funds in the capital markets, and provide them with strategic advisory services, including for M&A. There’s also a job going in Citi’s Hong Kong healthcare team – it’s at senior associate rank and focuses primarily on M&A.
HSBC has an analyst 3-level role in its Hong Kong advisory team within global banking and markets. This position involves a range of junior tasks, including developing company valuations and creating financial models, helping to prepare pitchbooks, and conducting fundamental industry research.
There will be a “moderate” increase in investment banking hiring after the Chinese New Year holidays, but it won’t be on par with pre-Covid years as global banks remain cautious with Hong Kong headcount budgets, says Eunice Ng, director of Avanza Consulting.
Much of the hiring will be driven not by expansion, but by banks replacing bankers who depart of their own accord, says Abimanu Jeyakumar, head of Selby Jennings, North Asia. “A lot of bankers are expecting a flat or a minimal-increment bonus. With this in mind, there will be a lot of ‘casual conversations’ that will take place with candidates before the bonus period and will eventually lead to a more active job market,” he adds.
Photo by Elton Yung on Unsplash
Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Email: email@example.com or Telegram: @simonmortlock. You can also follow me on LinkedIn.