Is Asia the Last Best Hope For Investment Bankers?

Anyone that follows the investment banking industry, particularly those that are attempting to procure employment in this prestigious field, know one thing and that is 2012 has been a dreadful year for investment banks in terms of revenue of and profits. And when the top and bottom lines are hurting, investment banks have to answer to their shareholders. With that in mind, it is hard to imagine investment banks significantly beefing up their payrolls in this volatile environment.

Making matters all the more difficult for prospective investment bank employees is the fact that the industry’s current struggles know no geographic bounds. While the situation is noticeably worse in the Eurozone due to the region’s sovereign debt crisis, the job market for investment banking jobs in North America has probably consisted of more cuts than fresh hires.

Look Overseas

Asia-Pacific might be the only region bucking the investment banking job cut trend and that is to say banks are cutting less there than in Europe and North America. Several marquee investment banks have announced Asia-Pacific layoffs, but the region still holds some promise for job seekers.

The signs are there.

Like many investors across the world, Asian investors are sitting on an ever-growing pile of cash as the global economic crisis continues. Unlike others, however, Asian investors seem more willing to put their capital to work.

Adding to the allure of Asia is the fact that Malaysia has been one of the world’s top IPO markets this year and the region is littered with sovereign wealth funds, some with stockpiles in the hundreds of billions. As that capital is put to work, there is a chance investment banks will take a chance on adding more staff in the Asia-Pacific region.


Perhaps the biggest reason why the Asia-Pacific region should be atop the list of destinations for those looking to land investment banking employment is the region’s sturdiness. While Europe and the U.S. were punished mightily during the financial crisis, many developing Asian nations held relatively well.

Industry revenue is estimated to have plummeted by 36.1% in 2008, according to IBISWorld industry analyst Ee Jen Lee. Some of the largest industry players collapsed or were acquired by other companies. The major centers of investment banking activity, the United States and Europe, were most affected, while the banking systems of the Asia-Pacific region and developing economies were relatively unscathed, according to IBIS.

With the financial crisis long since over and Asia-Pacific still home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the region could prove to be a beacon of light for those looking for investment banking jobs.

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