Merging banking with broking

Craig O'Callaghan finds out about corporate advisory firm Canaccord Genuity's exciting new graduate scheme

Starting this autumn, Canaccord Genuity are expanding their investment banking analyst programme for graduates to include time spent working in the firm's broking team as well as in the advisory team. To learn more about the changes, and what benefits the programme can offer, we spoke to Jacques Callaghan, Deputy Head of European Investment Banking and Piers Coombs, Managing Director in Corporate Broking.

What motivated this expansion of the graduate programme?

Jacques Callaghan: "We've consistently hired graduates on the advisory side of the firm for many years. Since we put the advisory and broking businesses together at the back end of last year, we want to ensure graduates become familiar with both of them."

Piers Coombs: "Now that we're operating as a truly integrated business, with M&A bankers working alongside their equity capital markets colleagues it's entirely natural to recruit graduates in a combined manner rather than have two completely separate programmes."

JC: "It means our graduate programme is very comprehensive and broad, offering graduates the opportunity to rotate between different types of work and giving them a holistic overview of European investment banking."

What does working in your respective departments involve?

JC: "On the advisory team, graduates will get a varied exposure to sectors. In the UK we cover the whole economy so they could be working on anything from financial services deals to industrial or technology deals. There's also variation in the type of transactions they'll work on, which could include selling companies, helping clients buy companies, or advising on debt-related issues.

PC: "The work in corporate broking is initially desk-based to an extent, helping prepare the briefings that we put together for our clients. One of the differences between broking and the M&A business is that we're giving daily advice to our clients, so graduates will gain exposure to them fairly early on, even if they're not expected to be on the front line interacting with CEOs and finance directors.

"As well as managing relationships with our clients, our job involves understanding what's happening on a daily basis with share prices and investors. As a result, we expect graduates to spend time on the trading floor, picking up the ebb and flow of the stock market."

What are the benefits of gaining experience in both advisory and broking?

PC: "Graduates coming to us will be able to experience M&A at the sharp end and also gain a broader window into what's going on within the financial services industry through spending time in both sides of the business. They'll then be able to make an informed decision about how they want to develop their career. It's designed to be flexible.

JC: "The feedback we get from our graduates is that our programme is more comprehensive than many others. Whereas other firms can only offer the experience of either M&A or equity capital markets, we can offer both. Having this broader experience makes them more of an all-round investment banker."

Apart from the benefits of the new graduate scheme, why else should students consider Canaccord Genuity?

JC: "We're very focused on career development. Obviously it depends on where each person is in their career and what we feel they might need in order to progress, but we are very conscious of making an investment in people who are going to build our firm over the medium to long term."

PC: "Work at bulge bracket banks can be very transactional, but our business is about building relationships that last and grow. We're really focused on mid-cap (middle capitalisation) companies which positions us very well at the moment as the market returns to normal. It means clients understand that when we advise them, we're not just there to collect a fee and move on. We want to work with these mid-cap growth companies as they evolve and develop."

Opinions of an analyst

Muhamad Mirza joined Canaccord Genuity as a graduate in 2011, having studied Classics at the University of Oxford. Having started out working in the Advisory team, Muhamad currently works in Corporate Broking.

Working as a graduate

"Starting the graduate programme was a good experience because I didn't feel I was expected to already know everything. For the first two months I received technical training and got the opportunity to meet senior people and talk with them about their sector and what deals they were working on. The learning curve was pretty intense but the firm has really good support structures."

Working in advisory

"Within about a month I was working on a couple of live transactions and within a year I'd worked on some interesting deals such as the sale of Psion to Motorola. I felt I had the chance to put into practice what I'd learnt in training, with a strong team on hand to continue to support me along the way."

Working in broking

"When I moved from advisory to broking, I appreciated the chance to get a broader understanding of the investment banking business that I'd gained from spending time in advisory. While advisory is more project-focused, broking also entails maintaining ongoing relationships with clients outside of a transaction. Working in broking also means that, because you need to arrive at work before the markets open, you have to get in earlier in the morning! But I have really enjoyed the work, especially building up a relationship with the people you're advising during and after a transaction."

"For me, having been able to work on both sides of the business has been a fantastic opportunity, as both have their merits and are very enjoyable, and I will continue to try and do both."

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