Are you nearing the end of your ACA contract?

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In the fifth and final instalment of our insights into the career opportunities available to newly qualified accountants in Front Office Investment Banking we are considering the move into the Equity Capital Markets teams of UK Midcap focused Investment Banks.  These teams are also sometimes called Corporate Finance or Corporate Broking.  Different firms use different terms, and for consistency we will be using the term “corporate broking” in this article.  To register your interest in finding out more about career options and live vacancies please click here.

The job

Working in corporate broking involves working with a portfolio of listed corporate clients who retain the services of the firm to advise them on all market regulatory matters, including fund raisings, market updates and a variety of other corporate transactions.  You will progress from being an analyst and contributing to the research, analysis and client presentations to having your own list of clients that you advise.  So, the pressure is on to build trust with and maintain these relationships from an early stage of your career.  The transactions you might be advising on include:

  • Public company takeovers – Rule 3 or offeror advice, public to private, recommended/hostile
  • Primary fundraisings (IPOs) – UK based on the AIM or Main list of the London Stock Exchange and possibly globally on other exchanges including the NYSE, NASDAQ, TSX or ASX.
  • Secondary fundraisings – raising money for your listed clients; something that is key to many firm’s survival during the current Covid 19 lockdown.
  • Nominated Adviser (NOMAD) and Sponsor Services
  • Capital restructuring
  • Strategic advice

On a daily basis you will be analysing and interpreting financial information as well as planning and participating in corporate clients’ transactions. You do get very involved with your clients and will spend time co-ordinating and liaising with other relevant employees within the company and your clients’ other advisers including lawyers and accountants.  There is a lot of interpretation and writing work involved as you will be drafting, commenting on, or advising on, shareholder and relevant legal documentation.

There are a number of focussed NOMAD (nominated advisor) firms who advise on AIM listings and fund raisings for clients.  In these firms you will be working closely with your senior colleagues (Qualified Executives, QEs) to prepare for listings and fundraisings for small to medium sized firms so the client contact can be very personal, often dealing with owners of businesses.

Some of the larger Investment Banks will also have ECM (or Corporate Finance) teams that look after midcap corporate clients, but these will generally be purely Main List focused, without the AIM listed client base.

Overall corporate broking involves providing market based financial advice, considering the views of relevant colleagues, on corporate transactions under contemplation by corporate clients

Why would you want to do this job?

In a corporate broking firm, you get to know your clients well and experience the internal workings of a commercial company.  Relationships are very important as you work with different professionals within the company as well as external advisors from all fields so if you enjoy the variety of working with people then this is a great opportunity.  If you have a strong interest in markets and the effect it has on corporates and different sectors as well as corporate transaction activity, then in this role you will really be at the cutting edge of activity.  You will be privy to confidential information and possibly be involved in some very high profile transactions that themselves influence markets.

Working in corporate broking is a real opportunity to work closely with corporates advising them on how to grow their businesses.  It also gives you the opportunity to have access to C-suite (board level – CEO, CFO, CTO) of those corporates and the longer term career prospects are varied including moving into your clients as an internal adviser, CFO or investor relations specialist.

Salaries are good and you are rewarded with a fair and structured bonus scheme.  As a junior you would be starting at £50-60K basic and can progress to £80k with a few years’ experience.  Bonuses can be as high as 100%.  The renumeration tends not to be as high as in M&A, but then the hours are not as long!

Who would it suit best?

If you are looking for a more realistic work/life balance the hours in corporate broking may suit you better than M&A.  As relationships and presenting are core to the role then being gregarious, sociable, bright, quick witted and confident is a must as you are operating in a very commercial environment and not always with financial services people.  Being able to translate financial and markets jargon for business owners to understand is also crucial so strong writing skills will be a benefit.  Corporate broking definitely suits those who like the writing side more than the pure numbers side of things.  

Having an interest in businesses, how they operate and grow is a definite bonus as you will be advising business on how to finance their growth and other corporate developments.  Also, if you are looking to progress your long-term career in a more commercial environment then this is a good move for you.

What’s the catch?

As already mentioned, corporate broking is not always as financially rewarding as M&A.  There is also a lot of legal and regulatory work that must be done, rules and regulations to follow, so it can be very dry at times.

Pressure is present in all the opportunities we have explored but in corporate broking the pressure comes from both the direction of the firm you work for as well as your client as they are reliant on your advice and guidance and you would be accountable for any mistakes or inaccurate advice passed on.  You need to be confident and thorough to be able to shoulder the responsibility.

Our consultants at Alan Mitchell have been working with clients and candidates in the corporate broking sector for over 18 years now and will give you very straightforward advice on the sector and if it is right for you so please contact Philip Seager to find out more –

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