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“How bankers in Asia can launch a corporate sector career” Selby Jennings’ Jason Ne Win discusses in

Date: 08 January 2015

Fancy leaving investment banking for an in-house corporate-development role at a company in Hong Kong? You may be more sought-after than you’d imagine.

As we’ve reported in recent months, expansionist North Asian companies are on the hunt for bankers to guide them through mergers and IPOs. The pay gap between IBD and corporate-development jobs is also narrowing.

But if you’re currently working in investment banking in Hong Kong, what can you do to increase your chances of successfully starting a corporate-development career? Here are some tips:

Target companies from Greater China

Western multi-nationals are not your best if you want to start a corporate-development career in Hong Kong Share on twitter. “There are two common routes for bankers looking to move: mainland conglomerates and local Hong Kong corporates,” says Jason Ne Win, a principal consultant at recruiters Selby Jennings in Hong Kong.

Get your size right

You are likely to get a job with a company of a similar size to that of your current clients. “Candidates from the bulge bracket tend to attract attention from the bigger conglomerates, while those from boutique firms typically move to firms with comparatively smaller exposure,” says Ne Win.

Don’t act like a banker

If you’re dealing with a client you hope might soon become your employer, or if you’re interviewing for an in-house job, do not under any circumstances come across as a swaggering, arrogant investment banker. “An unspoken rule among corporates is that the bankers they bring on board should be humble and be willing to learn the ins and outs of working within their culture,” says Ne Win.

Have a background in M&A (or ECM)

As large companies from Greater China continue to make acquisitions overseas, those with an M&A background are generally most in demand for corporate-development jobs. “But some smaller firms may be gearing towards an IPO and would recruit individuals with ECM/IPO experience to aid in their listing,” says Ne Win.

Specialise in a hot sector

“Some industry bankers may also be sought after if the corporate is a specialist within a certain sector and the requirements are more sector specific rather than product focused. Traditionally, FIG and real estate have been the hottest sectors to make a transition,” says Ne Win.

And show a real passion for that industry

The industry you currently cover should be one you are genuinely interested in, not just one your bank has assigned you to as a stop-gap. “Displaying a keen interest in the industry coupled with up-to-date market knowledge can be key to securing a position,” says Ne Win.

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