Investment Banking Jobs Becoming a Jack of All Trades?

The turmoil caused by the financial crisis and the headcount reductions among big banks appears to be forcing investment bankers to wear many hats.

Capital raising and merger and acquisition deals are becoming tougher to execute, but with fewer teams of specialists around to help, the workload is increasingly being shouldered by old-style “all-rounders”, reports Reuters.

“We need to not be so aggressively defined by our job titles in the current environment,” said one head of equity capital markets (ECM) quoted in the article. “In this market every initial public offering that we were working on is (also) a merger and acquisition (M&A), or a private capital opportunity, so I am very much encouraging the guys that work with me to think like that.”

Many banks now require their investment bankers to multi-task, much like the all-round corporate financiers popular up until the 1980s. UBS, for example, has reportedly pulled staff covering banks and insurers into one group. Banks are also looking at how bankers covering different countries and different sectors such as industrials or technology can perhaps be combined. A so called “deeper bench” of more versatile bankers means others can join in if a particular client calls for more service.

From the point of view of investment bankers, some are using the current turmoil and lull in deal-making to explore areas outside their previously more narrow area of specialization. A debt banker, for instance, says he plans to meet with equity investors and sovereign wealth funds to lay the groundwork for hybrid deals that could possibly be of interest to these clients.

Other bankers are spending time reading up on new regulations to become more familiar with the changing landscape of investment banking and new opportunities.

What’s your opinion? Do you think we are, or will see a return to more of a generalist model for senior level investment banking jobs? Add your comments below.

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