Deciding between BB offers in Hong Kong

WhartonOrBust's picture
Rank: Baboon | 172

I currently have multiple offers from BBs in Hong Kong (to preserve anonymity, I won't say which ones, but a few are considered here "top BBs"). I know the US reputations of the BBs, but are things the same/different in Asia (for example, is GS TMT still considered the best, followed by MS M&A)?

None of the offers is group-specific, and my only considerations are reputation and exit opps to PE megafunds in Asia (KKR, Carlyle, Bain Cap, etc.). With that in mind, how would you rank the BBs in Asia?

Comments (22)

Jan 30, 2016

Would really appreciate any advice. Have to make a decision pretty soon

Jan 30, 2016

PMed you

Jan 31, 2016

Thanks for the PM, would also appreciate others' thoughts on this

Feb 1, 2016

Could you PM me as well?

Feb 1, 2016

bump

Feb 4, 2016

bump

Feb 4, 2016

I went thru the banking recruiting in HK last year, and had superday with 5 BBs. Here's some of my thoughts:

First of all, IB in HK is a whole different animal compared to Wall Street. You will mainly deal with clients from East Asia (80% Chinese). Some inputs I received from the process regarding each bank (in order of ranking, IMO):

MS: arguably the best in APAC because of their strong relationship with Chinese government, and partnership with a local Chinese IB. Good deal flow mixed with M&A and IPO
GS: brand name is still strong in APAC, but somehow lack of tight connections with the government.
Citi: good culture but most IPO works
CS: reputation has grown fast since Alibaba. strong connection with many Tech companies. However, the IBD is smaller than other BBs
JPM/BAML: teams are smaller and not as competitive as the top three. too much pitch work and deal flow is not as strong
Barclays: can't be even counted as BB in Asia. however, people are nice and culture is good.

(DB/UBS: didn't get attraction from them, so can't speak of it)

    • 2
Feb 4, 2016

Thanks for the insight Dan!

Feb 4, 2016
DanZ:

I went thru the banking recruiting in HK last year, and had superday with 5 BBs. Here's some of my thoughts:

First of all, IB in HK is a whole different animal compared to Wall Street. You will mainly deal with clients from East Asia (80% Chinese). Some inputs I received from the process regarding each bank (in order of ranking, IMO):

MS: arguably the best in APAC because of their strong relationship with Chinese government, and partnership with a local Chinese IB. Good deal flow mixed with M&A and IPOGS: brand name is still strong in APAC, but somehow lack of tight connections with the government.Citi: good culture but most IPO worksCS: reputation has grown fast since Alibaba. strong connection with many Tech companies. However, the IBD is smaller than other BBsJPM/BAML: teams are smaller and not as competitive as the top three. too much pitch work and deal flow is not as strongBarclays: can't be even counted as BB in Asia. however, people are nice and culture is good.

(DB/UBS: didn't get attraction from them, so can't speak of it)

Re: Barclays, they are pulling out of Asia so would double down on diligence before joining

Mar 3, 2016

Note: I can only speak accurately with regards to the M&A side of things.

As someone working at one of the "top" banks in product coverage (M&A) and currently moving into an industry group, here are a few corrections:

MS - you are right, they definitely do have a best-in-class franchise but it certainly isn't because of its relationship with the Chinese. GSGH and UBS both are comparable in this regard. In fact, MS HK M&A deal flow has a significant minority of ex-China deals, which is what makes it particularly attractive for some. Would chalk deal flow up to top-tier talent and seniors just generally doing shit right.

GS - I would put their overall franchise above MS if you consider a blended view of both M&A/ECM. Ever try to cook a league table when you're not at GS? It's not easy to top GS in the tables without pulling some BS with dealogic

Citi - I have no idea what you are saying; Citi HK is known ten times over for it's M&A team, not ECM...

CS - Spot on, best TMT team on the street. But in general right now US banks >> European banks by a long shot. Would go to most other banks otherwise.

On JPM and BAML, this is where you are very misguided...JPM and BAML both have top franchises in HK.

BAML - topped the tables for M&A in 2014. Extremely good franchise, definitely traveling in the front of the pack regardless of what product. But for M&A they seem to be big lenders and tend to do fewer (but much larger) deals, so I actually don't really know the quality of their advisory abilities. But from how everyone speaks of them...they are the complete opposite of "deal flow is not as strong"

JPM - top player regardless of product. Regularly competes with GS/MS/BAML for deals and beats them out regularly. I know people at JPM getting buried with deals...and I know for a fact they are hiring the most this cycle. One of the best.

Barclays - yep they barely exist here anymore.

UBS - probably the best bet if you go european. Strong M&A and China teams

DB - Well regarded M&A but otherwise I would go to most other banks.

    • 2
Mar 3, 2016

I've also heard that JPM is hiring a lot of SAs...Is that a good thing though? Does that mean the franchise is actively trying to expand, or just that it will have higher attrition rates/FT conversion rates for its intern class? And if it's the former, why so? Based on the league tables over the past couple of years, it doesn't seem like JPM has grown very much relative to its peers in Asia.

I've also heard that JPM is cutting some people at the mid-level, any truth to that?

Mar 5, 2016

Bump..any ideas?

Mar 5, 2016

Can you also comment on some of the Non-BBs, such as Nomura, HSBC, and others.

Mar 9, 2016

Any comments on EBs (Rothschild, Laz, GHL, PWP...)? Would love some inputs.

Best Response
Mar 10, 2016

I interned at Laz/Moelis/Roths/EVR in HK before, and interviewed with them all. All in all, exposure is very good. Here's a hint with boutiques. If you look at their teams, Laz and Moelis are where people go after they did their stint at BBs and didn't like it/wanted a small team/wanted a promotion. Whereas people at HL and Roths have routinely transferred TO BBs.

Lazard: China focused, and working language is Chinese. Lots of ex-BB. Bad culture, high turnover. But probably not as bad as Laz NY. Small shop.

Moelis: Very broad exposure: good amount of SEA deals with some China deals. Good amount of RX deals, and they are quite generalist at the junior level. Great culture, decent work life balance. Almost all ex-BB at the associate/VP/ED level. Very laowai/ABC/CBC friendly. Small shop. Well kept secret.

Rothschild: Established player in HK (size wise - pretty big). Dealflow per head is probably not as good as Laz/Moelis. They have famously bad pay. Decent brand though, as people manage to exit to some interesting places. Some try to move to BBs as it is seen as a step up.

Evercore: I thought they were really nice guys. Good hours. Almost all foreigners/western Chinese. Working language English. Big focus on power/utilities. Trouble with the HK office is that they have a bulk of their business in SEA. EVR recently opened up in SG...so this can't mean good things for the HK office guys.

Houlihan: Only player I know in HK with a technicals/modeling (sort of) test. Be warned as interview guides won't get you through that one. I failed it, but it was ages ago when I didn't know finance. Lots go to BBs from HL.

    • 6
Mar 10, 2016

Hey man. Sent you a PM.

Dec 2, 2016

Hey dude, were your interviews with some of these shops for SA or FT?

Jan 5, 2019

Hi William Y

Mar 11, 2016

If anyone has any questions about HK IB SA, I can answer questions, having interned last summer and will be returning this summer.

Aug 4, 2017
Comment
Nov 15, 2016