IBD exit doesn't exist in HK
Rant for an associate here who has spent years finding exits, exits are mostly non-existent even during the best time in 2021. Just laying out my thoughts in simple bullet points here for anyone who is interested
- Most of the firms in the region don't hire bankers. Looking at buyer logs etc. of projects I am on. Most of the corp dev guys are background. Instead they are usually big 4 or homegrown finance guys who lateralled. On some occasions, the head of corp dev come from IBD but these guys are usually ex-MD who are personally connected to the rich family corporates and was invited to head their business operations. They then built the whole corp dev by hiring internally or from big 4
- Bankers are too expensive and doesn't signal loyalty to them. This was the direct feedback I got from multiple recruiters which I made to the final stage and discuss comps. I quoted 30-50% cut of base salary (and assumed bonus is 0). I was outright rejected by a few and some pressed for further paycuts. 2 months later, I found on linkedin someone from EY got the offer instead.
- Business functions consider big 4 over bankers. It is for the same reason as above. A 5-year banker base a month in HK whereas a 5-year FDD manager makes 7k USD a month and check the box with . The hiring folks basically think if they , you are not going to be happy with it and you aren't staying long. Yes, they think for you and reject you when considering candidates. FFS. Nonetheless, the FDD guys probably are more hands on with adjustment and financial deep dive than us working on data mining in IBD daily doing crap work
- There are few acquisitive MNCs with dedicated Asia corp dev team. Most MNCs have very small corp dev team and most do it in US / their HQ country. Few companies are HQed in HK besides Hong Kong corporates who know how to lowball even when it comes to IB fees.
- If they hire you, they expect you put in banking hours. There are a few MNCs or local tech companies who can pay (c.USD8k for 5-6 years of experiences and below USD5k for 3-4 years). Many of these are acquisitive guys in the industry with well-known toxic culture. Some explicitly told me they hire ex-IB because "they can tank the hours". You are making corporate pay while continuing IB hours and their key selling point is "you don't need to originate". Don't go there as an Analyst / Associate. Those places are full of VP/D who cannot make it in banking by just putting their body and hours. Enjoy working with people who think stamina and perseverance are their greatest asset.
- Situation is even worse right now with oversupply. Self-explanatory - the companies that pay are few to begin with and most have shut their doors
- There are jobs that can pay with decent hours but they are extremely difficult to get, and they are not the exits frequently mentioned here. Such as IR at a fund (IR at corporate pays peanuts), credit risk or (surprisingly you will get paid double vs your corp dev exit if you can manage to lateral there without experience cut), private bank investment specialist (those guys who do calls explain to UHNW why invest in ). I have friends who managed to exit to these roles. Personally I spent years trying but it didn't work out for me though
- MF exits are not easy and many MM funds paycuts while delaying your promotion. Also, enjoy doing your slides without formatting team and data mining without data team
Sorry guys for the rant, just writing the "buyer beware" note here in case anyone thinks IB is the golden career passport after leaving the industry