30+ bankers scrambling for each private equity job in Singapore

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30+ bankers scrambling for each private equity job in Singapore

Private equity firms are expanding their headcounts in Singapore as fundraising increases – and they want to hire more junior bankers.

Don’t get too excited. If you’re a banker, your chances of securing one of these new roles remains as low as ever, say headhunters.

The industry is on somewhat of a roll in Southeast Asia, the region largely served by Singapore-based PE firms.

The overall value of PE deals in 2016 rose 42% year-on-year to reach $7.8bn in Southeast Asia, driven mainly by the technology sector, according to an EY briefing published in April. In Q1 this year, while volumes were roughly in line with 2016, fundraising was dramatically up. Total funds raised in the first quarter came to $2.8bn, compared with $2.3bn for the whole of 2016.

This market momentum is starting to trickle down into hiring. Larger players such as KKR, Mizuho Asia Partners, and Navis Capital Partners are set to hire in Singapore in the second half, says a headhunter who works with the firms and who asked not to be named.

They primarily want to recruit analyst to VP-level M&A bankers to perform pre-acquisition valuation, modelling and due diligence on target companies, adds Jag Dhaliwall, managing director of Singapore search firm Principle Partners.

Dhaliwall expects PE firms (excluding sovereign wealth funds) in Singapore to take on about 50 junior to mid-ranking bankers this year. “Not all these are replacement roles for people who leave – PE firms in Singapore are now adding net headcount,” he says.

But this increase doesn’t mean it’s getting any easier for bankers to make the sought-after shift into PE after three or so years on the sell-side. “On average there are about 30 to 40 investment bankers going for every private equity vacancy in Singapore. The desire to get into PE still far outweighs the recent increase in jobs,” says Dhaliwall.

As always, you’ll need to be ensconced at the likes of Goldman Sachs or J.P. Morgan to get one of these jobs. “The PE funds hire exclusively from the top-eight global banks and target the best of the best bankers,” says Dhaliwall.

Image credit: Dmytro Aksonov, Getty

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