While Australia is certainly no Wall Street, there are still great career opportunities in investment banking Down Under. But first, it’s worth knowing some of the challenges: the market is still bouncing back from the GFC and our local industry is quite tightly regulated, which can have an impact on the growth and scope of investment activity.
But there are a whole bunch of reasons to be optimistic about the future of investment banking locally. For one, our economy is strong, with a continually growing population, increased urbanisation and stacks of cash flowing from state and federal governments into large-scale infrastructure projects. All of this means there is a need for financing and capital, which is where investment banks come in.
Some of the major players in Australia’s investment banking scheme have also shared their positivity about 2018 and beyond, with talk of potential mergers and large IPOs in the pipeline. The Australian market also benefits from its geographic closeness to Asia, especially the still growing Chinese economy, with much of the work of the Australian investment banking scheme focused on Asia.
A strong economy means banks with lots of work to do. And the more work for a bank means the increased capacity and need to hire people just like you!
While the Australian industry is both stable and growing, it still isn’t massive. Investment banking is incredibly popular with grads and so the combination of the few roles available and high demand can make the process incredibly competitive. Later on, we’ll talk through all the nitty-gritty about how investment banking applications work, but let’s start by giving an overview of the lay of the land.
Top-tier investment banks in Australia, such as Goldman Sachs and UBS, generally offer about 25 grad positions each year, while Deutsche Bank offers around 10. The boutique banks will vary in size but will generally take a smaller cohort as they tend to be small teams to begin with. Increasingly, the Big Four professional services firms in Australia (PwC, KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young), are offering investment banking functions to their existing clients, and so present another opportunity for grad roles in investment banking.
It’s fairly common to see banks fill some of their graduate places from those that have done shorter-stint summer internships with the organisation, so if possible, keep this in mind as an option before grad applications. We’re also beginning to see a bit of a shift in what experience banks are looking for when recruiting grads. Banks like UBS now have a recruitment policy to reserve some grad spots for those who might have had one or two years experience working professionally, making sure there are options to get into the world of investment banking even if you missed out on a role straight out of uni.
Australia’s strong economy and increasingly close ties to Asia means that our investment banks are continuing to grow, even if the pace of that growth isn’t wild!