Recruitment in investment banking isn’t just about the battle to hire analysts and associates. In Asia Pacific so far this year, Citi has hired more than 20 people from VP level upwards across capital markets and advisory to support its business growth, says Jan Metzger, Citi's APAC head of banking, capital markets and advisory.
In H1, Citi also recorded its strongest ever half year for broader investment banking revenues in Asia. “2021 is the year Asian clients really embraced capital markets. Tech has dominated, and it has been across the region. Indian ECM issuance is running at levels of the last three years combined, you have had landmark IPOs across India, Korea, Philippines, and Indonesia, for example, and I think we are just getting started really. The pipeline is the longest and strongest it has ever been across the region,” Metzger told us.
M&A has also been busy – inbound, outbound and within the region, says Metzger. “Global clients still want to pursue Asia for the consumer growth story, and new and existing Asian corporate champions are increasingly acquisitive. You are also seeing landmark tech deals such as the Gojek/Tokopedia merger,” he adds. Citi advised Tokopedia on that deal.
Citi’s investment banking team is arranged by industry coverage working in partnership with country-coverage staff based in 16 markets across Asia. Having an on-the-ground network allows Citi to help clients in any country where they do business, says Metzger. “We don’t need to fly people in and out like monolines, who don’t have the network we have,” he adds.
Virtual working during the pandemic has helped rather than hindered the deal-making ability of Citi’s bankers in Asia. “Zoom did open up new opportunities too – you could do virtual roadshows over a space of one or two days that may usually have taken a week,” says Metzger.
As deal-making rises in Asia and globally, Citi and most other investment banks have boosted the salaries of analysts and associates this year because competition for execution talent is intensifying. First-year analysts now earn $100k base salaries at US and European banks.
Citi has also tasked its juniors with more responsibilities. “I have been really impressed by the way our junior bankers have stepped up to the challenges. Many of our juniors have found themselves taking on responsibilities that were greater than what a first-year analyst typically would get,” says Metzger. “I still think banking offers the most amazing career opportunities. What is more exciting than helping a company grow, or supporting an old economy company transform to adapt to the digital age. We don’t really have any trouble still attracting the brightest and best talent.”
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