This Post is part of the Careers in Australian Finance series.
What is Relationship Banking?
Relationship Bankers are people who manage the relationship between Corporate and Institutional Clients and a Bank. The role of a Relationship Banker is to develop the relationship with a set of clients, often in a specific industry, and use that Relationship to help the Bank sell its products into the Clients. As such, Relationship Bankers are often regarded as the Generalists in the Corporate and Institutional Banking world, as they work across all the products the Bank has to offer and do not specialise in any one particular product offering unless the Industry he/she works in relies heavily on that product in general.
Relationship Bankers are often people who started as Financial Analysts, and generally a Relationship Banking team will have a few Financial Analysts supporting the Relationship Bankers. However, there are entry level Relationship Banker roles available as well, but bear in mind you will probably function as a Financial Analyst while you learn the ropes. Relationship Bankers often work with Financial Models and analyse Financial Data in order to generate ideas for pitches to clients, and will then organise the people that work in various product departments within a Bank to make a deal happen. Relationship Banking at senior levels is one of the more schmoozey roles in a Bank, as a large component of the job is maintaining relationships by attending events and taking people out for lunch, and pitching deals.
Hours in Relationship Banking fluctuate from mild (9-5) through to very long (8-midnight) depending on the level of deal activity and the culture in the team. Pay also varies quite a lot, and is not itself as highly paid as Corporate Finance type roles, with senior relationship guys potentially earning around $350K base plus a decent bonus after a fairly long career. A big strength of this career path though is that you get to understand a lot about the entire banking business very quickly, and you develop a lot
of contacts both within the particular bank you work for and externally too, which can make it an excellent role to help transition elsewhere, or to later move into a Senior Management/Executive role within a bank.
What do I need to do to get a role in Relationship Banking?
Having a background in Finance helps immensely, as does a good general knowledge of the various Financial Instruments a bank sells (FX, Interest Rate, Structured and Vanilla debt and equity, Trade and Cash Management is a good start). It is not essential to have done a Commerce/Finance/Accounting degree, however at some stage you will want to do some study in this area to excel (as with all the areas mentioned in this blog…). Financial Modelling skills can help you perform well as often the Relationship Bankers will be given Financial Models by companies, and other times will need to build one to generate forecasts to support a pitch. For graduate programs, the Big 4 Banks will require approximately a credit average.
Who is hiring in Relationship Banking in Australia?
The Big 4 Banks hire the most for these types of roles, and Macquarie has quite a few as well although they operate under a different structure due to being an Investment Bank. Otherwise you can also try some of the International Banks, in particular:
Standard Chartered: http://www.standardchartered.com/careers/