Investment Banking in Canada

Investment Banking in Canada

How is Canada as a market for investment banking? Is it as similar to the USA market? How investment banks in Canada do the selection? What sort of funds Canadian investment banks handle? In this article, you will get the answers to all the above questions.

Let’s have a look at the sequence of the article –

Overview of Investment Banking in Canada

For outsiders, it seems that investment banking in Canada is a lot like investment banking in the US, right? Wrong! Actually, there’s a lot of difference in terms of recruitment, process of selection, market, the demand for investment banking jobsInvestment Banking JobsThe investment banking job description is a formal narrative that lists out the essential qualification, basic skills and technical skills required in a candidate to fill in the vacant investment banker position. It also explains the roles and responsibilities to be performed in this job more in Canada and investments handled.

  • The first thing that you would notice in Canadian investment banking is that it is very tough to get in. But, fortunately, very few people to apply for investment banking in the first place.
  • The second thing that is notable is the market. Investment banking in Canada is much smaller than in the USA. Here investment banking revolves around four financial hubs (usually) – Toronto, Calgary, Montreal & Vancouver. If you want to break in, it’s better that you live near these places or can move to these places.
  • The third thing that’s noteworthy is the type of structure maintained in Canadian investment banks. In the USA, usually, people from top-notch MBA institutes are directly hired for associate positions; but in Canada, the analysts only become associates within 3 years of time. Moreover, in Canada, an MBA is not as common as it is in the USA. And what’s more surprising is that the investment banks in Canada are ready to accept proposals from candidates who are coming from completely different/unconventional backgrounds.
  • The last thing that will give you a brief of the investment banking in Canada is the focus of the investment. In the USA, the industry focus and reach are both much bigger. However, in Investment Banking in Canada, the actual focus of investments is in three specific industries – energy, mining, and natural resources. In two financial hubs Toronto & Montreal, few tech, biotech, and pharmaceutical investments can be found.

Let’s now look at the service offered by Canadian investment banks.

Investment Banking Services in Canada

Investment Banking in Canada

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In the case of services offered, Canadian investment banks are similar. Let’s have a glance at the various services they offer under the umbrella of investment banking –

Top Investment Banking Firms in Canada has published its 2016 ranking list of the top investment banks in Canada. has provided rankings for large caps as well as small and Mid-caps.

Top Investment Banks in Canada – Large Cap

Leading” Investment Banks

  • BMO Capital Markets
  • CIBC World Markets
  • RBC Capital Markets

“Excellent” Investment Banks

  • Goldman Sachs
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Scotia Bank
  • TD Securities

Highly Recommended Banks

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Barclays
  • GMP Securities
  • HSBC
  • JPMorgan
  • National Bank Financial

Top Investment Banks in Canada – Small & MidCaps

Leading” Investment Banks

  • BMO Capital Markets
  • CIBC World Markets
  • National Bank Financials
  • RBC Capital Markets

“Excellent” Investment Banks

  • Cormark Securities
  • FirstEnergy Capital
  • GMP Securities
  • Macquarie Group
  • PWC
  • TD Securities

Highly Recommended Banks

  • Canaccord Genuity
  • UBS Investment Bank
  • Scotiabank

Recruitment process in Investment Banks in Canada

The recruitment process in Canadian investment banks is much different than the investment Top Banks in USA Top Banks In USA The top ten banks in the United States are as follows:1. JPMorgan Chase 2. Bank of America 3. Wells Fargo 4. Citigroup 5. US Bank 6. Truist Bank 7. PNC Financial Services Group 8. TD Group US Holdings 9. Bank of New York Mellon 10. Goldman Sachs Groupread more & Europe. Let’s have a look at the process in detail –

  • No existence of assessment centers: Investments banks in Canada do recruitment through face to face interviews and direct selection. There are no assessment centers whatsoever to choose candidates. In European investment banks, recruitment can’t be perceived; however in the USA rarely you would see the existence of assessment centers in the process of recruitment.
  • Resumes are also similar in nature: If you create a banking-friendly resume then that would be enough. There’s no requirement of making it something else and no need at all to do so. A simple, easy to read banking resume will do the trick.
  • The entire focus of the interview is on “fitment”: As the offices and banks are smaller in Canada, the idea of “fitment” is most important to them. Thus, they don’t mind calling people from other unconventional backgrounds; but they should be culturally fit for the organization. And that’s the reason all interview questions would be majorly “fit” questions. So if you would like to start in an investment bank in Canada, know about the investment bank well in advance and see whether your aspirations, knowledge, skills, and ambitions go with the bank’s existing culture.
  • The first round of interviews: Usually this interview is taken by the agency or sometimes directly by the banks. In this interview, they want to know whether you can work or not. It is a basic screening interview and if you’re reasonably good, chances are you will get through it easily.
  • Superday interviews: During these interviews, the candidates get stressed about what super day interviews would be all about. In normal circumstances, the interviews will depend on what sort of background you have and who you have worked with. Usually, super day interviews are either about fitment or about judging your technical expertise. During super day interviews, the interviewers want to know whether they can like you or not. If they like you, you will get hired. In the case of Canadian investment banks, super day interviews are more about fitment and less about technical abilities. But you need to be quite decent in technical expertise.
  • An additional round of interviews: If they get a couple of candidates after superday interviews, you can expect another round of interviews to find out who would be hired at the end of the day. In this interview, they will look at both the candidates, their fitment, their educational backgrounds, their work ethic, knowledge, and technical expertise, etc. After holistically judging both pros and cons for both candidates, they will finally decide who will get hired.

Culture in Investment Banks in Canada

You may think that the culture of investment banking in Canada would be quite different than American investment banks. But the truth of the matter is that it is quite similar. In Canadian investment banks, you need to put in at least 90 hours a week, every week. That means you would have almost no-work life balance. And if you have decided to work in an investment bank, work-life balance may be the last thing that will cross your mind.

In most of the cases, you will be spending 30% of your time on deals and clients. And the rest of the time would be spent on finding prospects, creating financial models and working on pitch booksPitch BooksPitch Book is an information layout or presentation used by investment banks, business brokers, corporate firms, and others to provide potential investors with the firm's main attributes and valuation analysis, which helps them decide whether or not to invest in the client's business. A pitch book is also known as Confidential Information Memorandum, which is used by the firm's sales department to help them sell products and services to a more. Unless you’re not part of an extremely busy group of investment bankers, in Canadian investment banks this is how you would work.

And if you’re working as an analyst, your exposure would be much more than analysts in USA investment banks. The reason behind this is the size of the funds and clients you will handle. Usually, in Investment Banking in Canada, both are smaller.

Also, have a look at Investment Banking LifestyleInvestment Banking LifestyleLong working hours, weekend work, a lot of hard work, and little sleep are all part of an investment banker's life. Life as an investment banker is described as hectic, but for those who want to live a life of dedication, competition, and risk while also performing well, investment banking is the appropriate more

Investment Banking Salaries in Canada

If you would like to work as an investment banker in Canada, then it should be out of passion or a deep curiosity to know the market. If you’re there for compensation, then you may get disappointed.

Here’s why.

The average salary of investment bankers in Canada is around C $65,000 per annum. However, there’s good news too. If you can stick to this industry for a few years, you would be able to earn a decent salary. Have a look at the chart below –

Investment Banking in Canada


We will look at another chart below which will draw an idea in your mind about bonuses and profit sharing as well –

Investment Banking in Canada


If we look at the bonus, we would see that it’s huge and certainly experience has a lot to do with the bonus you earn. If you have more experience, then you would be able to earn even more than C $100,000 as a bonus.

Let’s look at the chart below which shows how experience affects salaries in investment banking in Canada –

Investment Banking in Canada


If you look at the above chart, you will see that in most of the cases, experienced people get more salaries (and it is always upgrading year after year); but in the case of entry-level, the opposite is true. The salaries at entry-level are downtrodden.

But what happens when we look at the pay structure as per the experience?

Investment Banking in Canada


From the above chart, we can understand a surprising thing. If we glance at payment as per the years of experience, we will see that when investment bankers have 10-20 years of experience, they earn around C $140,000 per annum which is the sweet spot. After 20 years of experience, the salary starts to decline and become around C $100,000 per annum.

That means we can conclude that at 20 years of experience as an investment banker in Canada, the compensation reaches its saturation level and if the investment bankers don’t switch or start their own funds or ventures, it would be difficult for them to keep earning more.

Investment Banking Exit Opportunities in Canada

Compared to the USA, investment banks in Canada, there is less obsession with exit opportunities.

The reason is most investment bankers love their jobs and they love to stay in their jobs for a long period of time rather than switching careers.

However, you can still switch and go for an MBA. But in Canada, after MBA rarely people stick to investment banking. They go to different routes, especially in the banking industry (please note: not investment banking).

Also, have a look at this detailed guide to Investment Banking Exit Opportunities 


In Investment Banking in Canada, everything happens at a smaller level. But the environment is great and there is an emerging market waiting to be explored. If you have experience in USA investment banks and want to work in Canada, barriers to entry for you would be none. Even if you pass out from a top-notch university in the USA, in Canada, investment banking would be a much lucrative option for you; as there would be much lesser competition and you can immediately take charge of the position.

However, if you’re from Canada, having enough passion and curiosity will do the trick for you.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to Investment Banking in Canada, their services offered, recruitment process, their culture, list of top investment banks in Canada, investment banking salaries in Canada, investment banking jobs in Canada and exit opportunities. You may also have a look at the following article for learning more about Investment Banking

Reader Interactions


  1. Ryan says

    Thank you sir . It was an amazing article just when i thought all hopes were gone for me your atricle came like a bright light to me . I was really uncertain of what I wanted to do in life cause i’m only 19 at the moment but investment banking is something that has always been on my mind .