Investment Banking in Singapore | Top Banks List | Salary | Jobs

Updated on May 2, 2024
Article bySayantan Mukhopadhyay
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Investment Banking In Singapore?

Investment banking in Singapore is a flourishing sector of the financial industry and is currently gaining importance globally. Singapore is considered an epicentre of finance, banking and investment in the Asia-Pacific region, which is growing rapidly.

Investment Banking in Singapore

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The ever-changing financial landscape has attracted much attention in the region lately, and many financial institutions are interested in entering the market. Should we try to get into investment banking in Singapore? How is the market? What is the pay structure? Can one grow well in investment banking in Singapore? In this article, we will investigate everything in detail.

Investment Banking In Singapore Explained

Getting into the Singaporean market is not easy, especially if you are from a different country and do not have any experience in Singapore. But it is possible.

In Singapore, the market is not emerging; but you will encounter emerging markets in many South-Asian countries when you begin to work.

Investment banking is quite established here, but the nature of deals and market scope are distinguishable. Here are a few things about the market that you should keep in mind: –

  • Bulge Bracket Banks primarily do the large deals. These include Standard Chartered, HSBC, DBS, Citibank, etc., among the few who do a lot of bidding.
  • Singapore’s investment banking firms are relatively smaller and usually deal with smaller deals. Rarely do they handle any mega-deal over $1 billion? However, if any mega-deal is executed, everybody (the major names) would be involved in the deal.
  • The issue with the Singaporean market is that most mid-size and large companies are family-owned or state-owned. And as we know, the thing with the family business is that people do not want to divest their own companies. As a result, Singapore investment banking M&A deals are limited.  Most of the bulge bracket banks here, thus, try to own the deals that are at a lower level. As a result, very few markets can experience top-notch banks competing over middle-market deals. But in Singapore, it is a reality.
  • The primary deals in the Singaporean market involve shipping and natural resources. The Singaporean market is also the hub of cross-border deals – it may be the case because of the secured economy offered by the government.
Investment Banking in Singapore

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We will talk about the following in this article: –

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Services Offered

Even if Singapore has a different market in investment banking than the UK and the USA, the services offered are almost the same. Let us have a look at the services provided by the top-notch and local investment Banks in Singapore: –

Investment Banking in Singapore - Services Offered

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  • IPOs: Most of the investment banks in Singapore advise the companies on how to go about IPOs and list their shares on Singapore Exchange (SGX-ST). The investment banks help their clients understand the rules and regulations of the Singapore Stock Exchange so that there is no room for error and everything happens hassle-free. They also advise the companies on capital structure, marketing themes, invitation structure, pricing, and timing.
  • Equity and Equity-Linked Offerings: This is one of the most important services offered by Singaporean investment banks. They advise companies on various equity-related products and offerings. In addition, these investment banks guide their clients to finance projects and improve strategic initiatives. In Singapore investment banking, they also advise companies on the size, structure, pricing, and timing of any equity-related products/offerings like block trades, rights issues, capital raising, and convertible securities offerings.
  • Debt Capital Markets: Investment banks in Singapore work mainly in Asian markets, and they all have a dedicated global sales and trading team and a great credit research platform. Such a team and support allows most investment banks in Singapore to provide exceptional advice, offer amazing market insights, and unparalleled gift execution. These banks cover agencies, corporates, supranational, funding solutions, sovereigns, etc.
  • Private Placements: Singaporean investment banks provide a wide range of services in private equity for both listed and private companies. These banks offer pre-IPO convertible securities, growth capital, mezzanine debt, equity, etc.
  • Mergers & Acquisitions: As already mentioned, most of the M&A deals in Singapore are “below par.” But that does not mean middle-market deals do not demand any expertise. Investment banks here provide corporate advisory, and they have a strong team that deals with the technical details of all the deals. But, of course, the most important ingredient is the bank-client relationship because only the whole deal is handled based on that. These investment banks help their clients in cross-border and domestic transactions by offering industry insights, a global perspective, solid experience, and seamless execution. These banks execute deals in Singapore but advise companies in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

List Of Top Investment Banks

Investment banking is strongest in Singapore if we compare it with the standing of the private equity market. Many top investment banks in Singapore offer great services and maintain a cordial relationship with clients.

Here is a list of top investment banks in Singapore that are most notable: –

  1. BAML
  2. Nomura
  3. Goldman Sachs
  4. J.P. Morgan
  5. Barclays
  6. Citi
  7. Deutsche Bank
  8. Morgan Stanley
  9. HSBC
  10. Standard Chartered
  11. DBS
  12. OCBC

Thus, the above are some well-known investment banks successfully operating in the country. Their success comes from top-level customer services and a wide range of financial products that can cater to the market’s requirements. They are not only meeting domestic demands but also spreading their branches globally.

Recruitment Process

The recruitment process in investment banking in Singapore is different as the market is small. So it would be very tough if you try to get into it traditionally.

Thus, if you have an option and you are a foreign national, instead of the Singapore market, try the London market for investment banking.

However, if you decide to get into the Singaporean investment banking market; here are a few things you should keep in mind regarding investment banking jobs in Singapore: –

  • Networking is Key: In a small market, the jobs are often unadvertised, and most of the time, recruitment works through a reference. Thus, your chances would be very bleak if you do not network. Networking means making cold calls and emailing bulk banks at the topmost positions. Networking here means trying to pitch them in person. Yes, it is not easy to reach out directly and get rejected repeatedly; most of the time, these top professionals do not have time to listen to the pitch of a youngster. To get into investment banking in Singapore, you must network through cold calls, emails, and constant in-person pitching.
  • Internships: Investment banks will only select those with a good background when the market demand is low (as smaller teams and fewer people are recruited). So, you need to hustle and get two-three summer internships. If you want to get into investment banking, it is great to try out bulge bracket banks for internships. Try middle bracket banks if you cannot land an internship or two in bulge bracket banks. The idea is to have hands-on experience in investment banking and get recognized by a top-notch investment bank. If you manage to get interviewed by a bank later on (because of your networking skill and reference), these internship experiences would seem invaluable to you. Do have a look at how to get an Investment Banking Internship
  • Fit Interview: The first round of interviews is often a fit interview for investment banking jobs in Singapore. Usually, corporate recruiters are appointed to conduct the interview. Here, you would be checked whether you have the right background for the job. Banks that depend on the agencies to recruit a few entry-level candidates must leave the things to corporate recruiters. So, you must ensure you know what it takes to impress the corporate recruiter to get through.
  • Next Rounds of Interviews: Next rounds of interviews are usually done similarly. First, there will be analysts who will be taking your interview. Then, if you get through, you must sit with an associate. Finally, if you clear the round, you must sit with MD/Partner and HR representative/s. During these sessions, you will be asked to present a case presentation. But remember, the emphasis is more on sales than technicalities. So it would help if you prepared similarly.
  • Language and University: The culture is diverse, and knowing Chinese is not mandatory. But if you know Chinese, it would help. Also, if you have an education in any university in Singapore, that would be an added advantage. Every investment bank likes local candidates and people who belong to the place. That is why knowing the language and pursuing an education in Singapore would help you cut the crowd.

The above recruitment not only ensures that the candidates selected for the job are the best in the industry and possess skill and knowledge that match with the responsibilities that they will undertake, but it also helps in maintaining the standard of products and services expected from the professional and the banks so as to make the institutions sustainable and trustworthy.

Culture

The Singaporean investment banking market is much smaller. Thus, the offices’ culture is much different from Top banks in USA and the UK.

  • The first thing is that bankers here rarely work on major deals; thus, the external pressure is less than in London or the USA. But that does not mean that you would not work longer hours. On the contrary, as an investment banker, you will work long hours (not 100+ hours per week, but close), not for external pressure, but to complete your tasks since the team is pretty small in investment banking firms.
  • The second thing relevant to the Singaporean investment culture is that people mostly work in closely-knit teams. And even MDs are accessible to entry-level employees. So, if you want to ask a question, you can walk into MD’s room and talk to him. And no one screams at anyone, even if new employees make mistakes (which is quite normal as they’re just beginning to adapt to a new environment).
  • The third most important thing to consider about the investment banking culture in Singapore is that the focus is more on sales than on technicalities. That is why people rarely do modeling and valuation, and more concentration is given to sales and pitch books.

The above points highlight the basic differences between the culture of investment banking jobs in Singapore and other western countries. It is notable that the work environment is more flexible, transparent and allow a better work-life balance.

Also, have a look at an Investment Banker Lifestyle

Salaries

Singapore’s salary is quite good, especially if you start your career with a bulge bracket bank. So even if you must go through a lot to get an entry, the result is quite satisfying. With a great basic salary, you will also get a hefty bonus.

Let us look at the average salaries of people working in investment banks in Singapore. These figures are assimilated by the survey data collected from various recruitment agencies: –

Investment Banking - Singapore Salaries (Wallstreetmojo)

source: efinancialcareers.com

From the above figures, we can see that if you start as an analyst in Singaporean investment banks, you will earn at least S$118k on average, with a 17% and 43% average bonus.

As you grow in your career and get promoted to an associate, you will earn an average of around S$171k on average, with bonuses of up to 58%.

As a Vice President, you will earn around S$263k on average, and as a Director, you can earn around S$381k on average.

As a Managing Director of an investment bank, you may earn around S$506k on average.

So, you can understand that if you stick to investment banking for a while, you will earn a decent amount of money over the years.

Also, have a look at an Investment Banking Associate Salary

Exit Opportunities

As investment banking turns out to be a great career, people do not exit their jobs. It is not like 2-3 years of pursuing a career in investment banking and then shifting to something else. No. But there are exceptions, and few people change jobs whenever they need to (or want to explore different opportunities).

Usually, there are two exit opportunities in Singapore: –

  • People leave investment banking for private equity funds. As a result, private equity has started to make its mark in the Singaporean market.
  • People go for hedge funds after a few years of experience in investment banking.

So we can understand that the exit opportunities are not due to the fact that the professionals are not able to show good performances or unable to meet expectations fo the market. They exit due to better opportunities that they receive from other sectors. This happens from the extensive knowledge that they gain from the work done in the field of investment banking In Singapore. This fact has also lead to development of new avenues of finance in the region.

This article provides a guide to what are Investment Banking in Singapore. We explain salaries, list of banks, services offered, recruitment process, culture. You may also have a look at the following article to learn more about investment banking: –

Getting into investment banking in Singapore is a very tough nut to crack. But if you can break that nut, stick to the job for a few years. Then, as you grow in your career, you will earn a decent amount of money in investment banking.