RBC vs. Nomura vs. HSBC (London)

So I don't work in IB, I work in AM. Some juniors I have taken as mentee before is thinking of joining IB, and he's asking me which firm to join (entry level, he's just about to graduate) 

I have no idea which firm has a better IB division in London. Much appreciated if someone could provide some insights. 

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Comments (38)

Nov 11, 2021 - 11:14am

No its a shitty shop.  One of my friends worked for RBC and he said that they definition of Global IB is a joke. Said that their NYC office was the biggest,  even compared to Canada.  They have a floor or two (I don't remember) in LA and a very small team in London.  Granted this was a year ago, so don't know if things have changed.  

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Nov 11, 2021 - 3:56pm

Yikes. I'm not sure about lateral movements in IB but if you move laterally at analysts/associates level ie.to a BB does your entry firm even matter that much ? 

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Nov 11, 2021 - 2:41pm

Agree that you should forget about HSBC. RBC and Nomura are ok - it should come down to group and the sense they got culturally in speaking and interviewing with different people. Anecdotally, I think RBC may pay a bit more and have better culture.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Nov 14, 2021 - 6:21am

Nomura is quite nice. They have some good teams like infrastructure or leveraged finance. I've seem many of their juniors lateraling to 1st tier BB. You also get a great exposure to the deals/models as teams are smaller

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 15, 2021 - 4:44am

HSBC not an option. Nomura > RBC in London imo, although NOM experience depends a lot on the team. Infra, M&A, telco and maybe consumer are fully worthy. Good exits from most teams (even the weak ones) in the first 2 years.

Nov 22, 2021 - 9:44am

Nomura has definitely a stronger PUI and Infra team vs RBC imo - from Analysts to EDs / MDs (as pay is compared to BBs). Culture wise, RBC potentially have a "lighter" environment, but careful because this can mean no workload whatsoever (very harmful if you're just getting started). Re. exits, Nomura = RBC. Overall, Nomura > RBC > HSBC.

Nov 22, 2021 - 2:44pm

Their TMT and Healthcare teams are decent (London), albeit very dependent on their financing capabilities and corporate officers (the "relationship" guys)

Nov 23, 2021 - 9:12pm

Nothing tangible between Nomura and RBC domestically in all honesty. If they intended to ever work/lateral state side however, I'd argue RBC because it does much better stateside than nomura and has been doing better on global advisory tables recently. Also, its average bonus/total pay appears quite a bit higher than Nomura's from glassdoor--obviously take those values with a grain of salt. Either way, for the best exits, you'd wanna leave either shop relatively soon unless you aim to become a career banker.

HSBC goes without saying.. no.

Would be great if someone at any of these firms could chip in with actual bonus figures though.

Nov 23, 2021 - 9:47pm

Thanks for that! And elaborate a bit on "career banker"? I would assume everyone joining IB is either wanting to be a career banker or exit to the buy side. Is that what you mean? 

Nov 24, 2021 - 9:16am

Career banker point was just to illustrate that even if they stayed at RBC/Noms for the long term, they'd still be making a lot relative to average salaries both in general and within finance while gaining valuable corporate experience, so they wouldn't need to lateral to say, GS/MS for a decent IB career.

As for Career vs Buy side, those are the two most lucrative options so they are the most commonly pursued. i.e not "everyone joining", but the majority would be looking at those routes.

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  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Nov 25, 2021 - 3:42am

HSBC and Nomura both have established platforms that have had periods of strength historically, but have been really hurt by mismanagement and lukewarm, sometimes schizophrenic IBD strategies (for example when Nomura shut down its entire equities business only to start rehiring the next year). RBC is a newer entrant who has been investing in expanding the European business beyond its core PUI capabilities, with limited impact - after a decade, PUI still remains the only team there that consistently generates revenue. They've hired a lot of bozos who haven't been successful, which is why every other year they end up sacking an entire sector team (e.g. TMT in 2019).

But in London / Europe HSBC gets better deal flow than RBC and Nomura. Nomura in particular has been sliding downhill over the last decade since all the ex-lehman folk left. RBC has very few corporate clients in Europe - it is almost pure buyside sponsor advisory. 

I work at a BB and see HSBC much more often than the other 2, in both M&A and ECM (I have never seen RBC or Nomura in a meaningful ECM role, I have never seen Nomura in a meaningful M&A role outside of PUI)

i cannot comment on pay or exits, but i have heard hsbc doesnt pay great...but I know people at RBC who were unhappy with comp recently too.The exit path is to go to a BB or EB after 2 years, which is doable from all 3 platforms.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Nov 25, 2021 - 6:38pm

Finally someone on here giving HSBC London credit. Instead of relying on their weak reputation in the US.

Nov 29, 2021 - 6:07am

Thanks for that insight. Just as an update I think he has decided to join RBC since the plan is to lateral into a BB a few years later, which considering the three firms doesn't make much difference. He said he vibes with the people he interviewed with RBC the most and the pay is slightly higher than the other two. 

Nov 29, 2021 - 10:29am

RBC has one of the best groups in the Infra / Power and Utilities / Natural Resources space. If you are interested in that sector, it is a no-brainer to choose RBC (e.g. an Assoc just exited to KKR). If you want to work in other sectors, then it looks different of course

Nov 29, 2021 - 10:44am

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