ECM Exit Opportunities

I'm thinking of trying to transition into ECM from M&A as the job seems really interesting.

I was wondering whether any of you please have any insight into how it would affect exit opportunities?

Comments (12)

George_Banker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Highly competitive candidate for exit opportunities to nothing.

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SquareMileMonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Are there exit opportunities outside of PE/VC?


George_Banker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yes. They have nothing to do with ECM. You can always prove that you had a job I suppose, so there is that. Understanding the process of raising equity capital and advising companies on market dynamics, strategies, managing the process and that sort of consulting work is only applicable to ECM. You learn ECM to do ECM.

I guess what I am saying is that you have better exit opportunities than somebody that has never had a job.

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collahola, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Speaking from Asia ex-Japan perspective at a large-US bank.

Short answer is no exit opportunity. Best you could explore is to transition into equity syndicate where you don't have to deal with as much pitch book and other non-sense.

Sad fact is, you don't learn any useful transferrable skills by working in ECM as a junior. Once you are in, you've lost the opportunity to develop those skills till you reach VP and realize it's too late.

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MorganStreet, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would disagree with most of the posts here. Truth is, many people from ECM transfer to M&A within the bank and eventually end up with same exit opportunities as M&A people. Apart from that, there are many exit opportunities for example within investor relations, corporate broking or even hedge funds or consulting. In ECM, you will not be doing any modeling which is done by other product or industry teams, but you will be heavily exposed to markets. You will do a lot of market research and understand equities fairly well.

The lack of exit opportunities compared to M&A is however made up by much better work life balance and same pay. If you want to stay in banking long term, and if you value your life outside work, ECM is a great choice. You will still be making a lot of money and have a life. If you only care about exits to Private Equity, then yes, ECM is not for you.

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slammasam, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As a 2-year plus ECM analyst (soon to be associate), this is spot on. If you work hard and develop a good reputation at your bank, you'll have opportunities to lateral, not to mention a street bonus for working about 60 hours a week. Work is also interesting and better than a lot of other product groups IMO. Something I hate on WSO is when people shit on ECM - yeah you're not going to have the same PE exits, but you're also a 23yr old working 60 hrs/week making up to 140k annually or more as a first year. Most people would kill for that.

Some banks don't place emphasis on ECM and ECM analysts are far below coverage analysts on the totem pole (EBs for example). Other banks get a lot of revenue from their ECM product and thus, analysts are going to be treated/valued on relatively equal footing (MMs like Cowen, Leerink, Jefferies, Piper). Bankers at boutiques will do ECM work themselves and there's sometimes no differentiation. Just depends on where you're at.

Exits outside of banking will depend A) your experience prior to joining ECM, B) your transaction experience, and C) your training at your bank. My bank puts ECM analysts through the full suite of financial modeling and accounting training, just like sector coverage bankers. Not a replacement for real M&A experience but this can be a big positive if you're looking to exit.

MichaelBurry, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm an analyst in equity-linked origination at a mid-tier BB - most of the exits I've seen externally have been to better ECM platforms or investor relations. Internally, I've seen exits to traditional banking groups without much difficulty. I also think spinning ECM experience to get into more markets-related work (S&T) at the junior-level wouldn't be impossible either. At the end of the day it will come down to your connections, your personality, your track record in your group / transaction experience, and your willingness to learn the skills needed for the role you desire that you didn't have the opportunity to get exposure to while in ECM. But I will say - ECM is a pretty sweet gig when it comes to pay vs. work/life balance relative to other IB groups.

FellowTraveler, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would not exit M&A to ECM. Having M&A + lev fin or coverage on your resume rounds you out and will open more doors. ECM isn't really that additive, and will open few/no add'l ones for you.

I'd also do some research into the overall profitability of ECM and where it has been heading / projected to head. At a lot of banks it is a loss leader business in all but the frothiest IPO markets.

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daddylaurier, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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