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Behold the Growing Job Sector Where Investment Banks Are Actually Hiring

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If you’re an experienced banker in debt capital markets, you might want to send your CV to a regional bank in Asia.

With investment banking recruitment still stuck in the doldrums globally, DCM in Singapore and Hong Kong is providing a welcome wave of hiring, fueled by an active market.

DCM revenue in Asia Pacific hit $3.0bn in the first nine months of this year, accounting for a record 34% of IB revenue in the region, significantly above the 22% average over the past 10 comparable periods, according to figures from Dealogic.

Nomura, Mizuho, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan are the top-five banks for Asian DCM revenue for the first nine months. But although BNP Paribas has been hiring in Asian DCM recently, recruiters say global firms are generally staffed up already – it’s the Asian regional banks that are now growing their teams to capture a slice of the lucrative DCM market.

OCBC and DBS from Singapore, and Malaysian banks Maybank and CIMB are among the firms hiring in DCM in Singapore, according to a recruiter in the Asian city state who asked not to be named.

“Banks like DBS have a strong deal pipeline from their home countries. Even ICBC from China has added DCM syndication and distribution people in Singapore recently,” the recruiter added. Clifford Lee, who heads up debt origination and distribution at DBS, told us earlier this year that the sector had substantial potential for growth in Asia.

ANZ, an Australian bank with a large Asian network, has also made several high-profile DCM appointments across Asia in the past year, including Vincent Wong, formerly of RBS, who took on a newly-created role as Greater China DCM head in October.

“We are seeing the more niche players building DCM capabilities in high-yield debt as they have placing power as well as underwriting capabilities,” said Jens Soderlund, managing partner at Hong Kong search firm Sirius Partners. “The market is picking up and I believe will remain strong for some time to come.”

But analysts and associates be warned: regional banks mainly want “proven specialists” at VP to director level to help them capture DCM business, according to Eunice Ng, general manager of search firm Avanza Consulting in Hong Kong.

“The ideal candidate can do origination, understand complex structured products and can even connect the deals to potential investors,” said Han Lee, a consultant at search firm Kerry Consulting in Singapore. “They need a steady pair of hands from the technical end, together with the ability to bring in customers.”

Hiring such candidates, however, is altogether more difficult. “Increasingly, the local Asian investor components are the bedrock that forms the DCM deal, even though a portion of Asia deals are sold into the US and Europe,” said Lee. “But Asian experience is hard to find.”

–Simon Mortlock

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