An investment banking career is one of the most prestigious professions in the banking space because it guarantees a lucrative remuneration, infinite growth potential, and scope to work in leadership roles. Every year hundreds of graduates and experienced professionals seek to enter the investment banking space in various roles.
This article aims to simplify the web of investment banking as well as discuss career paths in investment banking operations.
What is Investment Banking all about?
Despite its high demand as a career option, the most commonly asked question is this - what is investment banking all about?
Investment banking is a division within the larger ambit of a bank or a financial institution that connects investors with corporations, governmental bodies like municipalities, and large institutions. Investment banks offer operational, transactional, legal, and advisory services to their high-profile clientele with complex financial needs.
Investment banks provide a range of services to their clients, such as:
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Sales and trading
- Asset management
- Equity research
- Managing stocks and shares
- Commercial and retail banking
Contrary to popular perception investment banking is not a single job. Rather, it is a huge segment within the banking ecosystem within which several departments and jobs exist. The various roles within investment banking can be categorized into:
- Front office functions (revenue-generating and client-facing roles)
- Middle office functions (overseeing compliance and risk management)
- Back office functions (managing the entire organization’s operations)
Who Is An Operational Investment Banker?
An operational investment banker, more commonly referred to as an operations specialist, is responsible for ensuring efficiency, accuracy, profitability, and risk reduction vis-a-vis the clearance and settlement of transactions for the company’s clientele. Operations staff provide support to the client-facing departments. They are also responsible for the smooth functioning of IT solutions and data management systems deployed across the organization.
The responsibilities of an operational investment banker include:
- Processing and settlement of financial transactions executed by front-office teams
- Efficient logging and accurate processing of transactions within prescribed timelines
- Developing and maintaining automated systems for fast and precise processing
- Initiating and overseeing processes
- Aiding in maximization of efficiency and profitability
Needless to say, an operational investment banker plays one of the most crucial roles in any investment banking firm. Without the operations staff, no process or transaction can go through in a safe and efficient manner. Entry-level staff in this niche are often hired as analysts and undergo a one to two-year on-the-job-training program and formal learning where they are taught administrative and business skills along with a deep dive into the company’s software systems.
How To Have A Career In Investment Banking Operations?
Like any other investment banking role, getting into operations can be challenging because of the competitiveness that exists in the field. On average, companies receive a minimum of hundred applications for each vacancy. Due to this reason, it is vital to have a competitive edge over other candidates to land a decent job in investment banking operations.
Candidates with a degree in finance or a valuable investment banking certification stand a better chance when it comes to being recruited. Companies also regard apprenticeship or internship experiences in operations with high value. Similarly, having an MBA degree in finance from reputed institutions also ensures significantly higher chances of getting recruited into top management positions in investment banking operations.
A career in investment banking operations provides high levels of personal and professional growth, stability, and lucrative financial rewards. It is one of the most important and sought-after career paths in the banking industry and valuable expertise to acquire if one seeks to climb up the rungs to top leadership positions.
The journey begins with upskilling oneself to suit the requirements of an investment banking operations career.
For that, an investment banking certification course like this Certified Investment Banking Operations Professional course is a good place to start.