The word financial hub was once synonymous with New York, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo. This no longer seems to be the case, according to a survey by Healey & Baker, a part of Cushman & Wakefield consultants, which reveals that Mumbai, Dubai, Shanghai and Singapore are the 21st century's hotspots for corporate finance and investment banking jobs.
The report further states that the entire Gulf region is transforming from an oil-based economy to a corporate driven one, with Dubai leading the charge. As for Shanghai, it adds, "The city is attracting some of the biggest multinationals, financial institutions and investment banks because of the bullish economy and investor friendly steps taken by the Chinese administration."
The financial sector in Dubai, for instance, grew by about 12 per cent in 2004, while in Shanghai the growth was almost 18 per cent between 2005-2006. In 2005, the finance and banking sectors in Singapore generated about 20,000 additional jobs, right from high-ranking executive posts, many of them filled by expatriates. In Mumbai, the financial sector is growing at 10 per cent per annum. According to the report, most big investment banking companies have offices in the city, which is leading to growth in the finance sector.
So if an international career in finance or investment banking is what you are dreaming of, it is better to look at opportunities in these expanding markets.
What is in it for you?
Jobs, of course. According to Haley & Baker, these cities will together generate more than 1.5 lakh jobs in the finance, investment banking and corporate finance sectors. "Every major bank, financial institution or multinational has either set up, or is looking at setting up branches and offices here," it states. "A buoyant job market will attract not only locals, but skilled workers from across the world." Some of the hot jobs in these cities would be:
Potential job positions currently open in financial institutions include Vice President, Bank Branch Manager, Savings and Loan Association Manager, Consumer Credit Manager, and Credit Union Manager.
Skills and qualifications needed would include a professional degree in finance, accounting, economics, or business. "Many employers, however, look for those with a Masters degree, preferably in Business Administration, Economics, Finance, or Risk Management, programmes that develop analytical skills and provide knowledge on the latest financial analysis methods and information and technology management techniques used in this field," claims Rudrash Zhaveri, Head, International Corporate Jobs, a Mumbai-based headhunter. "Of course, experience in well-established banks, financial institutions or a company is essential. Some even ask for up to five years of relevant experience if you are in a senior position."
Banks and financial institutions, however, even pick up fresh graduates from business schools in India, for lower or mid-level positions. "Graduates with an advanced degree, strong analytical backgrounds, and knowledge of the various aspects of financial management, such as asset management and information and technology management, will see the most opportunities," says Zhaveri.
Big investment banks like Merill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Salomon Smith Barney (a division of Citigroup), all have their offices in Shanghai and Singapore. Jobs in investment banking could go from the Vice President level to Researchers, Product Controllers, Corporate Development Managers and Corporate Finance Executives.
Zhaveri says that most investment banks recruit at several different levels. "There are vacancies, at certain times for school leavers at A level, although today the opportunities for those without at least A levels are rather limited. Investment banking is an excellent career option for the intelligent school leaver, but with increasing competition, graduate and professional qualifications are increasingly being regarded as a minimum."
An MBA in finance or business development is essential, and for higher positions, a few years experience in an investment-banking firm is essential.
Entry-level salaries in the corporate finance sector could range from US$ 35,000 to about US$ 43,000 a year. Those with a technical degree, could even draw up to US$ 50,000 a year. "Of course, salaries depend on the city you are working in," claims Zhaveri. "In Dubai, someone at the entry level could be paid about Dh 3,500."
An investment banker, could start with US$ 30,000 annually. "Bonuses or financial perks that accompany your pay packet would typically be 10 to 20 per cent of the salary," adds Zhaveri.
Boom in financial services
The consumer goods and information technology sectors are losing to financial services companies in the race to hire the brightest brains from India's business schools. This is evident from results of the yet-to-be released CampusTrack B-school survey 2006 by research firm AC Nielsen, in which management students from India's top 20 business schools voted for their 'most preferred recruiter'.
In the survey, financial services firms emerged the clear winner - seven of the top 10 employers of choice are from this sector. A recent survey by human resources firm, Manpower Consultants, also shows that the financial services sector is also on a high-growth path with global and investment banks on a hiring spree in India.
Charting your job hunt
A great way to start is to work with a multinational or an investment banking firm in India, and then ask for a transfer. One can also look for advertisements in local newspapers or apply through headhunters. You could also look at careers in finance (www.careers-in-finance.com), a guide to job postings across countries.