Investment Banking Roles and Responsibilities

Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Are Investment Banking Roles and Responsibilities?

Investment Banking roles and responsibilities refer to the jobs associated with offering various financial services to their clients, including helping the corporations find the investor for obtaining the debt finance, underwriting the stock issues, working as the financial advisor, handling the mergers and acquisitions, etc.

Investment Banking Roles and Responsibilities

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Starting from front office jobs to becoming an analyst and associate or Vice President or Director of an entity, the roles and responsibilities related to investment banking are of various nature. For an individual to become one of these, they require pursuing proper qualification and having the required work experience for some of the profiles.

Investment Banking Roles and Responsibilities Explained

Investment banking roles and responsibilities vary widely across the sector. Though the field of investment banking is open for all, it takes good knowledge and expertise of the investment sector to be preferred by recruiters. There are different departments in the sector for individuals to try their luck in. However, every section of the investment banking firm requires qualified, skilled, expert, and experienced professionals to implement strategies that would work with clients.

The key roles in investment banking range from analyst to associate to vice president to a managing director. One may think of associating with the front office, which directly deals with the clients or back office that conducts all research to ensure the clients are served with tailor-made strategies to achieve their investment goals, or the middle office, which acts as the link between the front and back offices.

Diving deep into the investment banking roles and responsibilities helps understand the whole science within each function. In an investment bank or investment banking firm, the key roles involve different levels. It all starts with an analyst then move to associate then become a vice president than a finally managing director.

The investment banking roles and responsibilities differ widely across several departments, but the basic qualification and skills required for carrying out the functions as an investment banking employee have some similarities, which build the foundation of individuals interested in joining the investment banking sector:

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Qualification

Investment banking aspirants must possess a degree and educational qualification suitable for them to associate with the sector. Let us have a look at some of them below:

  • An MBA degree or an equivalent qualification, especially for Associate’s position, which is the beginning of the career in most of the investment banking firms.
  • Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent qualification is checked when one applies for analyst’s position.
  • For an associate position, recruiters may ask for three to four years of experience in the relevant field.

It is preferred to have candidates with exquisite knowledge of finance and investment banking entities work in analyzing trends, and suggesting a good investment to clients who trust them with their money.

Skills

Apart from the educational background, employers also look for the skills that the candidates possess. This helps them to ensure if a career seeker would be able to perform as expected.

Let us have a look at what qualities investment banking employers seek in an individual:

  • Quantitative and statistical aptitude adds extra points to the candidature.
  • Proficiency in MS Excel and VBA
  • Ability to adapt to the fast-paced working environment, which might include working in tight deadlines per client’s convenience
  • Strong communication skills and ability to take initiatives.
  • Ability to work in an organized manner and adjust to changing priorities.
  • Most importantly, having skills of financial modeling, which is a must for undertaking analysis.

Investment Banking Roles and Responsibilities Video

Roles

The opportunities that the investment banking roles and responsibilities bring to the table, are numerous. Let us have a look at the roles that one is exposed to found suitable for the sector:

Analysts

The analyst is someone basically whose main role is to create financial models, do company valuations, comparable comps, relative valuations like Price to earnings ratioPrice To Earnings RatioThe price to earnings (PE) ratio measures the relative value of the corporate stocks, i.e., whether it is undervalued or overvalued. It is calculated as the proportion of the current price per share to the earnings per share. read more, PBV ratioPBV RatioPrice to Book Value Ratio or P/B Ratio helps to identify stock opportunities in Financial companies, especially banks, and is used with other valuation tools like PE Ratio, PCF, EV/EBITDA. Price to Book Value Ratio = Price Per Share / Book Value Per Share read more, etc., do some hardcore data punching. The person is in charge of creating a model from scratch, populating the historical data, doing some industry research, carrying out some due diligence, creating IB pitch booksCreate IB Pitch 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 client.read more. So essentially, the analyst’s role is all about, you know, getting your hands dirty and someone who is just a graduate, let’s say in history, or it may be financed, is kind of eligible for this kind of a job.

An analyst is the one who examines the industry research and try to figure out how productive an investment can prove to be. Besides this, they are the ones who build financial models being the experts of finances. They are the ones tracking trends to be able to be the best advisors to their clients.  

Associates

An associate’s primary role is to check the analyst’s work. In short, they are one level up over and above the analyst. They write a text for the presentations, oversee the job of an analyst, and sometimes interact with clients, the investment banks presenting the other side of the party or the client. This person is in charge of conducting Financial analysis is an analysis of finance-related projects/activities, company's financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, and notes to accounts) or financial ratios to evaluate the company's results, performance, and trends, which is useful for making significant decisions such as investment, project planning and financing activities.read more financial analysisFinancial AnalysisFinancial analysis is an analysis of finance-related projects/activities, company's financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, and notes to accounts) or financial ratios to evaluate the company's results, performance, and trends, which is useful for making significant decisions such as investment, project planning and financing activities.read more. They are expected to spend at least 4-5 years as an associate before being promoted to the Vice President’s position.

Vice President (VP)

The Vice President overlooks the associates and the analyst, but his main role is of a manager who takes care of different verticals in a business organization. The Vice President is someone who is handling a certain set of projects. This person handles the structure of the presentation before going to the meeting. The VP is the person who manages it all and talks to senior investment bankers, analysts, and associates. This person is just a level below the final one who is called a managing director.

Managing Director

The managing director is the guardian of the firm. The responsibility of the person is to develop ultimate relationships assume that a managing director is highly networked and would be attending conferences, would be meeting clients, debating and discussing things about valuations and going to high-level meetings and managing directors may focus on one of the industries and develop relationships with the management. MD’s primary role is to bring business to the company. This person is the one at the top, who handles the part where the sales of the business come from the investment bank.

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Video Explanation of Investment Banking Roles & Responsibilities

 

Responsibilities

The investment banking responsibilities revolve around several aspects, some of which have been mentioned as follows:

Mergers and Acquisition

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are functions that investment banking professionals carry out on behalf of the clients. A business merges with another company either out of bankruptcy or for better business prospects on combining. Companies acquire other companies to expand or to take the other business out of the bankruptcy or to enhance its business prospects. In the process, investment banking professionals play an important role as they are the ones who estimate an acquisition’s value and help their clients get a good deal.

Conflicts of Interest

The next on the list of responsibilities that these professionals handle is the management of conflicts of interest. There are transactions involving conflicts. In such a situation, these people are responsible to help parties deal with the disputes and conflicts. In addition, they are also expected to give a safe platform for the clients to interact with their peers or with any third party without having to worry about any data leakage.

Financial Advisor

One of the most important and common investment banking roles and responsibilities include advising businesses what financial decisions to make and what to refrain from. They are the experts of the field and that is what makes them the best resource or guide for financial assistance.

Investment Banking Front Office, Middle Office or Back Office

The investment banking roles and responsibilities are carried out in different offices, given what profile one enters into. There is a front office, a middle office, and a back office, discussed in detail below:

Investment Banking Front office middle office back office

Front Office

Front office is the face of the organizations that deals directly with the clients. It is like a sales and trading desk that directly talks to the clients and advise them on buy and sell recommendations of the stocks. So since they are directly interacting with the clients, they are considered the Front Office kind of roles.

Likewise, equity researchEquity ResearchEquity Research refers to the study of a business, i.e., analyzing a company's financials, performing Ratio Analysis, Financial forecasting in Excel (Financial Modeling), & exploring scenarios to make insightful BUY/HOLD/SELL stock investment recommendations. Moreover, the Equity Research Analysts discuss their findings & details in the Equity Research Reports. read more is also considered a Front Office role because they are also directly interacting with the client, recommending their own set of analyses about buy-sell on a particular stock..

Middle Office

The middle office’s key role is to interact with the Front Office guys and ensure that they do not engage in any set of activities that are out of compliance or probably the risks are too much for the investment bank to take. The middle office checks the work associated with the front office. They are the people employed to conduct risk assessment related to the available investment options. So, all the controls and procedures lie in their hands. The finance control people, even the compliance executives, strategists- all work here in the middle office.

Back office

Back office has those who do not interact with the clients. They are the IT guys or the technology guys. They are the ones who would consider working in a Back Office in an investment bank. The reason is that they are not interacting with the clients. They are the operations guys, helping out in terms of the smooth functioning of the business or the investment bank, can be classified as Back Office employees.

This has been a guide to what are the Investment Banking Roles and Responsibilities. We explain about the skills, qualification, roles and responsibilities. You may also have a look at the following related articles for a better understanding of the investment banking sector:

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