Chinese Third Tier Bank AM
Hey guys, I was doing S&T in a BB before, and keep looking opportunity to switch to buyside but it's really hard under current markets environment. Buyside always wanna somebody already have buyside experience(research, or portfolio management exp for example), but if I didn't start, how can I have the exp, it's a dead loop.
Now that a Chinese third tier bank asset management dept willing invite me to join as a junior fixed income PM, but pay got cuts 30% (as most Chinese shop cannot offer quite much as they are a state-owned bank). In addition the name is not that big. Not sure if can move to bigger house if doing well there
But the upside is I can break into the right track and start my career in portfolio management. Their AUM is not that big compare with the big 4 bank in China, but they got CNY 100bio AUM at least.
Not sure if it's wise to join them?
I would exercise extreme caution.
The AUM of the SOE isn't as important as 1) what you would be doing, 2) how transferable your skillset will be and 3) how your time at the SOE will be viewed by future firms.
Regarding the role - junior fixed income PM means a lot of things in a lot of different places. If you're putting risk on and managing a book, it's an extremely valuable experience. If you're copy pasting from the sell side and presenting to senior mgt, the role isn't value add and there's no skillset development there.
The problem is you have no idea what you'll be doing before you join. I would not trust anything the Chinese SOE says to you. I've known of ppl who moved from lower-end BB roles in HK to high level SOE roles in mainland and were bold faced lied to about what they would be doing OR the role changed after they joined. Go in with eyes wide open and expect the worst.
I also would seriously think about your next steps after and how you can transition post-SOE. The problem w/ these roles, is most legitimate buyside firms question SOE roles.
It's really brilliant ! bro, yes, it's also what I concerned. As their SOE background, they didn't tell me much about the specific job function. What I know is they only have 2-3 portfolio manager at the moment and my role is doing fixed income investment focus CNY bond market, I'm sure can manage a little portfolio very soon.(but their mandate may generally focus on investment grade bond, and little portion on high yield, not sure if can invest in equity later on)
But as they are third tier and just started in this area, all infrastructure is very primitive I guess. This role based in China.
I also got a potential opportunity in HK doing Investment Consultant in a Chinese Leading Private Banking. But the IC role in PB is advisory mode, not discretionary investing. Although the pay will be higher doing IC, but living expense in higher in HK. Deduct the living expense, the rest comp may very close.
Hard to make a choice ..
However, the SOE bank is a listed firm and they got PM, traders in their asset management dept. This role is a PM role and will give instructions to traders to trade on the markets. Think can gain some portfolio management experience? But I guess the professional skills set cannot compared with international BB. The politics will be the theme in such place..
Running a book is great, if you can get that chance. Owning PnL is key. Even if you focus on CNY HY, the skillset development should be better than the investment consultant role.
The problem, as you noted, is politics is huge at Chinese SOEs. Your role will also never be viewed on par with BB equivalent. Trading any IG can be boring, CNY HY would be better of course. The weak infrastructure is a huge issue, you don't want to be in a place where you basically have to do all the FO and BO work yourself. From what you described, it sounds like that may be the case.
It really doesn't matter if the SOE is listed or not, a Chinese SOE is a Chinese SOE (which is not a good thing for your CV / skill development). This also means epic politics, vastly lower pay, rando changes in strategies (and with it hires and fires), low pedigree to change jobs in the future, and more...
I would push very hard for non-Chinese SOE alternatives, even if you have to move to Singapore. A firm like Temasek would be not a step, but a huge leap higher than the 3rd tier Chinese SOE.
Best of luck!
yes!! can't agree more, although they got PM and traders structure, the MO and BO function should be very primitive and I can imagine I have to take some additional responsibilities for MO or BO role. Dedicated and pure investment role not exist in such place..
Temasek is really cool, I also wanna join them and applied online before.. But without connection there, it's also very hard... Nearly all good buyside shop requires several years exp in buyside already.
But I came out from sellside: doing IC in PWM and S&T in HK before, also very hard to move to buyside unless take several years to read a MBA+CFA maybe..
vastly lower pay! yes it is! Sigh... I even heard some portfolio manager manage AUM CNY 100bio in Chinese commercial Bank AM base in China only got paid USD 60k equivalent per year! Very ironically.
In terms of pay and prestigious of the firm or the work, HK or SG will be definitely a better choice. But living experience is really bad in HK, the house there is very expensive and small, only work without life, repression and humdrum.
Hard to make a choice as I don't have better option at the moment..
GS and ICBC has jointly open a new wealth management firm to compete with the China onshore mutual fund. And Blackrock also partnership with CCB to do that same move as well.
Although this third tier firm is not that big name, but as long as they are compete with each other in the same track, I think maybe still have chance to move to those joint firm someday in the future once I gained several years portfolio management experience maybe..
It's going to be hard to pivot from the SOE to one of the GS / Blackrock JV firms you mentioned. One key reason is the spectrum of employee quality at the Chinese SOEs is very wide. While you do have some very talented employees there, you also have employees who are nothing more than glorified admins. I don't know how you can offset this, getting the CFA charter will help, but I just don't know if that will be enough.
Best of luck.
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