What does a corporate investment banker do? (Main duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Corporate investment bankers help clients to manage their financial assets and invest wisely. They provide a variety of financial services to individuals, companies, organisations and governments. Learning about their responsibilities and the primary duties they perform may help you to decide if this is the right career path for you. In this article, we explore the different types of corporate investment banking, what a corporate investment banker does and the skills required for the role.

What does a corporate investment banker do?

Corporate investment bankers are financial advisors, market analysts and risk assessors. They assist their clients with mergers and acquisitions, which requires an in-depth knowledge of the client's industry and a comprehensive understanding of the relevant legal and regulatory issues. They also assist with short and long-term lending and borrowing, stock market investments and launching initial public offerings (IPOs), which is when a company first introduces shares to the stock market that can be purchased by the public.

Types of corporate investment banking

There are three areas of corporate investment banking, which are:

  • Corporate finance: This involves advising clients on business expansion strategies and assisting with mergers and acquisitions. The latter entails assessing the target company and the impact of the transaction.

  • Debt capital markets: This involves devising strategies for raising long-term funds and restructuring or refinancing debt obligations. Here, the corporate investment banker works with financial institutions, banks and venture capital funds.

  • Equity capital markets: This involves conducting extensive market research and assessing potential profitability and risk before advising the client on the amount of capital to raise, where to raise it from and when.

Primary responsibilities

A corporate investment banker is responsible for advising a company on how to achieve its financial objectives. They advise on designing and implementing long and short-term financial strategies. They collaborate with other professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, chief financial officers and chief executives. There are two parts to a typical corporate finance deal:

  • Origination: This involves assessing the value of a deal and its benefits to the company.

  • Execution: This means structuring and negotiating the detailed terms and conditions of a deal.

Primary duties

A corporate investment banker's expertise helps clients to make informed financial decisions. They base their decisions on market evaluation and financial data analysis. Their objective is always to help clients preserve their financial integrity, grow their business and financial assets and prevent losses. Some of their primary duties include:

  • evaluating a company's worth

  • helping to formulate financial strategies

  • providing advice about investment opportunities

  • conducting market research and analysis

  • preparing financial documents

  • managing IPOs

  • identifying new business opportunities

  • using financial modelling to demonstrate possible outcomes

  • assisting with mergers and acquisitions and other transactions

  • ensuring legal and regulatory compliance

  • take the lead in management buyouts

Working environment

Corporate investment bankers work in investment banks, private equity firms and financial services companies. The job is often stressful due to expectations to consistently meet targets, with the emphasis on closing the deal within a tight deadline. The economy is a major influence on the sector, which means the number of job vacancies and job losses fluctuates.

Since investment banking is a global industry, you may work across different time zones, which means your working hours may not be strictly nine-to-five. Working hours are typically between 10 and 15 hours a day, including weekends and public holidays. While the UK's financial hub is in London, many investment banks have a global network of offices that provides opportunities to work abroad.

Related: How to become a financial advisor: the complete guide

Which bank to choose?

In London, investment banks fall into three main categories:

  • international investment banks

  • investment banking departments within large commercial banks

  • specialist independent investment banks

Consider the size of the bank when choosing where to apply for a job. While you may work on bigger accounts in a larger bank, a smaller bank may offer faster career progression opportunities. Also, consider your primary interests and strengths. Some banks focus on mergers and acquisitions while others focus on equity capital markets.

Qualifications

Most investment banks require applicants to have at least a bachelor's degree with a grade of 2:1, not necessarily in a finance-related subject but one with a strong focus on maths, such as economics or business management. Here are some of the options for gaining specialist investment banker qualifications:

  • The University of Reading offers a three-year full-time BSc Finance (Investments) course, which is an affiliated Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) programme. This is also offered as a four-year option, with a placement year or study year abroad in the third year.

  • The London Institute of Banking and Finance offers the three-year BSc (Hons) Finance, Investment and Risk course. This programme is also offered as a four-year option if you want to include a one-year industry placement.

  • The London Institute of Banking and Finance also offers the three-year BSc (Hons) Banking and Finance course, with the option to add a fourth year to accommodate a one-year industry placement.

  • The London School of Economics (LSE) offers a three-year BSc Finance programme, which not only covers finance but also provides a foundation in economics, mathematics and statistics.

Some employers may require additional professional qualifications. The London-based Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) provides a number of qualifications relevant to investment banking, which are approved by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). After successfully completing one of these programmes, you may choose to study for the Corporate Finance Qualification (CFQ), which is a global qualification provided by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

Internships

Investment banks regard work experience as an important factor when evaluating job applicants. Many banking institutions offer internships in investment banking. These are usually paid internships. Such placements not only provide the intern with the required experience and skills, but they may also lead to full-time job offers.

Related: How to become an investment banker

Skills

In the investment banking world, dedication and commitment are prerequisites. A second language may be useful but isn't essential. Developing the following skills may help you to secure a corporate investment banker position:

  • maths and analytical skills

  • teamwork and team leadership skills

  • communication skills

  • project management skills

  • time management ability

  • commercial awareness

  • decision-making ability

  • the ability to work under pressure

Earnings potential

Salaries are usually performance-related. Bonuses can be quadruple the base salary or more. The national average salary for a corporate investment banker is £31,365 per year.

High achievers not only earn good bonuses, but they're also in demand from outside their company. Headhunting is a widespread practice in this sector. It's not uncommon for other financial institutions to approach individuals or an entire team with tempting job offers.

Related: How Much Does an Investment Banker Make?

Career opportunities

It's possible to move from one bank to another to better achieve your career goals. An experienced investment banker may also progress to a senior managerial position in a different sector, such as industry, commerce or government. Within the banking sector, the progression path is usually as follows:

1. Intern

National average base salary: £49,343 per year

Primary duties: An intern assists full-time analysts and associates. This includes helping to prepare spreadsheets and presentations. They could also help with financial modelling and analysis.

2. Investment banking analyst

National average base salary: £64,381 per year

Primary duties: The analyst performs admin tasks, including preparing spreadsheets and presentations. They also manage transaction documents and respond to requests and queries from clients.

3. Investment banking associate

National average base salary: £86,965 per year

Primary duties: The associate assigns work to analysts and checks it on completion. They assist with complex presentations and models. They also attend meetings with colleagues and clients.

4. Investment banking vice president

National average base salary: £141,993 per year

Primary duties: The vice president assumes a management role, They provide guidance to analysts and associates and check their work. They also communicate with directors and managing directors.

5. Investment banking director

National average base salary: £125,969 per year

Primary duties: This role depends on the type of employer. The director may focus on building client relationships, communicating with clients and liaising between clients and banking executives. Alternatively, they may perform similar duties to a project manager.

6. Investment banking managing director

National average base salary: £212,332 per year

Primary duties: The managing director oversees everyone further down the hierarchy. They meet clients and focus on developing client relationships and bringing in revenues. They often participate in transaction negotiations.

What's the difference between investment banking and corporate finance?

Investment banking focuses on raising capital in the public markets and managing private placements of equity and debt capital. It also involves conducting merger and acquisition deals. Investment banking is focused on growing a company in terms of its capital.

Corporate finance deals with a company's day-to-day financial operations. It includes handing short and long-term business goals. It also involves managing a company's capital and strategic financial decisions.

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at the time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Related:

  • What to expect from an investment banker degree (and FAQ)

  • FAQ: What are the average investment banker hours?

  • What are the different divisions in investment banking?

  • What to do with an investment banker degree

  • Common Investment Banking Interview Questions


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