This Post is part of the Careers in Australian Finance series.
What is Corporate Finance & Advisory?
Corporate Finance and Advisory services firms provide a broad range of Financial Services to their clients, and charge advisory fees for their work. The broad concept is that a company or set of individuals have a plan they want to execute, and in order to do this they need help either with the financial structure or the funding sources for the plan, or both. That is when the Corporate Finance Advisors get a call… As a Graduate or Junior Analyst in Corporate Finance, you will spend a lot of time building Financial Models and preparing Pitch books. As you progress through the ranks you spend less time preparing Models and Pitches, and more time meeting clients and understanding their requirements in order to generate ideas for deals.
Some of the types of work that fall under the Corporate Finance and Advisory umbrella include (but are not limited to):
Equity Capital Markets (also part of brokerage businesses): sourcing Equity Capital for clients;
Debt Capital Markets: sourcing Debt Capital, generally in credit markets or Bank Syndications;
Securitisation: involving packaging a number of debt or receivables instruments into structured securities such as RMBS, and re-selling to investors;
Project Finance: structuring deals and raising (generally debt) funding to support a non-recourse project such as the construction of a mine, toll road, power plant, or other capital intensive project;
Structured Asset Finance: structuring deals to support the purchase of fixed assets, generally utilising complex leasing structures;
Leveraged Finance: structuring and providing funding for Leveraged Takeovers or Recapitalisations, often as part of a Private Equity deal;
Structured Export Finance: structuring cross-border import/export deals with the support of Export Credit Agencies;
M&A: as discussed in detail in our M&A post;
Corporate Finance is another highly paid industry generally, and under certain circumstances people that work in other parts of the Corporate Finance world will be absolutely massive earners, particularly in areas involving raising money (Equity Capital Markets…). Leveraged Finance has historically been a great place to earn a buck as well, although post the subprime debacle deal flow in this area has been somewhat lacking, especially in the mid and lower size deal world.
What do I need to do to get a job in Corporate Finance & Advisory?
In general Corporate Finance & Advisory has similar requirements to M&A in order to get a job in this field, although given the broader nature there are more roles going, more companies offering roles in these areas, and therefore a bit less competition. It is still very competitive so you should aim high if this is your aspiration. A great thing to do to bolster your resume is to study towards the CFA exams. Having the letters CFA on your resume (even if it is just having passed Level 1 or 2) is quite eye-catching for recruiters in this space, and is often a requirement for more senior roles. As a substitute some people will do a Masters in Applied Finance, however there are two shortcomings of this versus the CFA when applying for Graduate roles: 1) you cannot commence a Masters until you have an undergraduate degree, and 2) in general my experience is that the CFA is much more highly regarded in the Finance Industry than any Masters degrees available in Australia.
Who is hiring in Corporate Finance & Advisory in Australia?
All the firms listed in the M&A section also hire for more general Corporate Finance roles, with the exception of Freehill Caliburn historically as they are a focussed (and very successful) M&A Advisory house. Other firms to look at are all the Commercial Banks in Australia:
Otherwise you can try a number of other firms including Brokerages:
Bell Potter: http://www.bellpotter.com.au/common/recruitment.htm
Wilson HTM: http://www.wilsonhtm.com.au/
Southern Cross Equities: http://www.sceq.com.au/index.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
Patersons Securities: http://www.psl.com.au/
Additionally, there are a number of smaller players in this field in Australia that may or may not be interested in hiring junior staff in a given year.