Exposing a complete scam shop

Location/Market: I'm based in China/HK.

Relevance: while the thread will not be directly relevant to >95% of users in this forum, I want to get a message out: bad companies should get exposed. Maybe people still go work at Lincoln International after people die there or after Piper Jaffray (I know it's Piper Sandler now) worked analysts to the verge of dying. Those are personal choices.

It's wrong to hide that kind of information from job candidates. 

Company: Haitong International Securities (HTI)

Why it is a Scam shop: HTI actually has good deal flow. It has ranked at least top 10 for the last 3 years in the HK IPO market. Most IB activities in China/HK are IPOs and it's the main revenue stream of banks.

However, under this glory, there is some heavily veiled ugly truth: people who work in Beijing & Shanghai are paid 1/3 to 1/4 of what people in HK are making. 

Example: the starting salary for an HTI analyst in Shanghai is 15K RMB/Month. That is extremely low for an investment bank that tops HK IPO league tables. To give you some context, you can do English translation, teach high school math or English or whatever, or sell insurance (this might be a stretch) to make 15K/Month. None of that requires you to go to a top school with good grades and relevant finance internships. 

HTI HK: analysts now make 50K HKD/Month. This is roughly 3x what mainland analysts make. 

Hours: comparable. My group has slightly better hours than HK. A neighbor group I know constantly pulls late nights even on weekends and it's none-stop. Chinese people call this "927" --- 9am to 2am, 7days a week. No, it's not during live deals. 

HTI HK analysts: they definitely have 1 day to rest and they don't average 2am every single day even during holidays unless you are the lead analyst on a live deal. I know that for a fact because hey, I collaborate with HK colleagues all the time and we actually talk to each other. Maybe management thinks we don't, but we do.

What management is doing about this: they want people working in mainland offices to think that we should appreciate what we have right now, and the "bonus" will be high after we have completed a successful IPO. It doesn't take a lot of brainpower to figure out that even if we have some kind of a big payday coming IPO time, people in mainland offices still make 1/2-1/3 of what HK colleagues make. Somehow mgmt thinks people are dumb and don't realize this. Maybe they don't give a fuck and just treat people as cheap labor.

Offices: Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong offices cover the Chinese and HK markets. For the Corporate Finance department, about 40-50 people in HK and 40-50 people in mainland. So 50% of people make shit money. No, capability-wise, HK colleagues are not necessarily better. 

Reimbursement system: you have to submit your expense report within 1 week of finishing your trip. If it's past 1 week, you pay that shit yourself. The reimbursement system has changed 4-5 times over the last 3 months.  

Pro: none I can think of. 

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Comments (12)

Most Helpful
  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Oct 11, 2021 - 10:54am

Bro this is common knowledge in both HK and in the mainland. I worked in HK at a Euro BB before lateraling to CITIC in Beijing and nearly all my coworkers know that Haitong significantly underpays in the Mainland compared to CITIC/CICC. It's not a scam, it's just a low-paying shop.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Oct 11, 2021 - 11:10am

Mind me asking why did you decide to lateral to CITIC from a Euro BB? I recently spoke to one alum at a Euro BB but the bank seems fine (UBS/CS) in terms of pay or culture (his group is okay, chill guy). In terms of pay I believe CITIC pays less than BB no? 

Right now HTI HK pays really well. I believe that's CICC/BB level right?  

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Oct 11, 2021 - 11:31am

I'm born and raised in Singapore, I actually did my first year at the BB in Singapore before lateraling internally to HK. I really wanted to move to the mainland for personal reasons (have family in the mainland, see myself settling down there), and CICC/CITIC are by a considerable margin the top banks in terms of domestic deal flow so I decided to lateral to CITIC.

In terms of pay, I believe HTI is roughly at where BB and CICC pay in HK. In the mainland, CICC pays amazing (more than most BBs globally), while CITIC pays less, and HTI pays significantly less. Got offers from both CICC and CITIC, and ultimately chose CITIC for cultural reasons (imo CICC Beijing is a sweatshop compared to CITIC). I'm at the point in life where non-work matters are a lot more important to me and I was willing to take the tax hike going from HK to Beijing and the comp hit choosing CITIC to CICC, and for what it's worth both pay well enough to live comfortably in Beijing. That being said, HTI's haircut is huge and I'd heavily recommend lateraling to CITIC or CICC (mainland) or a BB (HK) if you are able to. In our office we clown on HTI all the time and I don't think people really see HTI as being quite on the tier of CICC or CITIC.

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 11, 2021 - 1:52pm

The large ones mostly pay really good. CITIC pays just under HK BB street in the mainland, which once adjusted for the (lower) COL and (higher) taxes in the mainland compared to HK, roughly comes out to HK street. Can confirm that CICC pays crazy money. Have a friend there who made $1.15M RMB ($180k USD) in his first year which is insane compared to NYC analyst pay once COL is factored in. Heard that a huge benefit of CITIC/CICC is also job stability, as those two banks are essentially SOEs so they have much better worker protections than private companies and are essentially always guaranteed deal flow.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Oct 11, 2021 - 8:09pm

Didn't know even CITIC pays that much tbh. Haitong is just shitty then. This pay gap is ridiculous. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Oct 12, 2021 - 12:03am

Btw, if you go to CICC if dpends on the group now. If it's SOE group with non-toxic culture then yes they pay an absurd amount. If it's toxic SOE group or GI group, no you don't get paid that much. GI pays very low, close to what Haitong pays. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Oct 14, 2021 - 6:25am

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