A discussion on job market trends: changes for corporate banking executives

Eric Zhu April 6, 2017 3 mins read

2016 was not a great year for corporate banking. Restructuring were done by institutions, business risk was high for revenues, and consequently, life was tough for many banking professionals.

As many have been thinking about how to deal with this change, here at Morgan McKinley’s Corporate Banking team, we have also been exploring new possibilities of how Corporate Banking executives may find new career prospects within the banking sector, or even switching their career path to other industries.

By this transformation, it is not as simple as joining a P2P company or going to recently-established domestic banking institutions. What I’m trying to discuss here is about the changing need in the financial services sector in China.

I would like to share some trends on the job market which have been repeatedly mentioned in our internal discussions. Let’s start with a brief review of the current market:

With Chinese banking giants (such as BOC and ICBC) continuing to expand their business offshore, foreign bank’s competitive edge on global networking in China market is declining. Especially for middle and small sized banks from North/Western Europe and North America.

Recent 10 years were not only a decade of expansion for foreign banks in China, but also a golden age for Chinese banks in Europe. The number branches for ICBC in Europe tripled in the recent 15 years.

This means the domestic corporate clients are more easy to transfer their cash pool to offshore market with their existing banking partner in China, there is no need to look for new banking partners overseas.

Also, with the help of technology, the need of employees in traditional transaction banking service are become less. Last year CBRC announced that banks can use digitized LC documents for deals up to RMB 2 million. Saving cost for a designated operation officer on such deals, as well as reduced job head counts within this very function.

However, change is not necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, we do believe it is a good time with opportunities that can take your career to the next stage. Certain sectors are hiring and worth to take a look at:

  • The Belt-and-Road: booming market in MENA and ASEAN

With the initiation of the Belt-and-Road project, we have seen many of our global clients expanding their business here in mainland China for a better and deeper business cooperation. Existing players in the market are building up new teams in Energy & Infrastructure sectors, trying to leverage their network in designated areas of the world. Many banks from MENA and ASEAN have been setting up new branches or representative offices as well.

Potential Hiring Needs in: branch set-up, inbound & outbound trade business specialists

  • Asset Management in a Global Environment: Global Financial Market & Private Funds

On the other hand, foreign asset management companies (AMCs) are finally getting their private fund license in China. Since this January, we have also seen lots job opportunities with these companies, from trading desk to fund sales recently. This is merely a start for foreign AMCs, just as 10 years ago when foreign banks were entering the market.

Potential Hiring Needs: AMC branch set-up, FICC specialists, DCM specialists

  • Cyclical Industries: Commodities and Energy

In recent months, we have seen global energy & ferrous metal sector gradually stepping out of its bear market. Many players are investing in oil, LNG, as well as clean energy sectors as assets are at their low point. Risky as the sector still is, we cannot expect crude oil to drop to USD 27 per barrel. With China gradually opening its energy industries to the market, we are expecting more profitable deals to be done in the coming year.

Potential Hiring Needs: principal investment, structured finance solution

 
Eric Zhu's picture
Operations Director | Financial Services Recruitment
ezhu@morganmckinley.com