Corporate Finance: Graduate Area of Work

Working in lead advisory, transaction support, and compliance roles to help your business interest increase its capital and shareholder value.
The gradsingapore Team

The principal purpose of corporate finance is to monitor the capital structure of a business organisation, and to increase its shareholder value through the sales and purchasing of its investments and securities. The selling of bonds, debentures, and common stocks falls under the scope of this field.

Those working in this area – which spans a broad spectrum of positions – will also advise a company’s shareholders or owners in the issues of mergers, acquisitions, and management buy-outs so as to increase the company’s worth and sustainability. They will also assist in the process of all the above exchanges, providing recommendations and analysis as and when necessary.

With the steady growth in Singapore’s economy in recent years and the government’s safety interventions in securities investment, corporate finance is looking to be a considerably lively sector.

Working life

Corporate finance is a field that is populated by wide range of people including positions such as lead advisors (lead advisory), accountants and auditors (transaction support), and even lawyers (compliance) – all working towards one goal, i.e. capital-raising. Each position serves different functions and contributes todifferent parts of the process.

Lead advisors, for instance, will manage and advise on the process of capital-raising, thus serving a consulting function. Their job is primarily focused on analysing the situation of the market before letting a business organisation know about the best and safest way to go about raising their capital.

Advisors will help organisations determine whether they should invest or let go a particular business line or asset in order to obtain cash, or obtain loans from a bank. Lead advisors know the financial landscape best, and should be able to match a firm’s capital-raising strategies with its risk appetite.

Accountants and auditors, in contrast, perform transaction support work, where they are responsible for verifying the financial security of potential merger companies. They perform “undercover” labour, where they look into the accounts of companies that have expressed interest in merging or getting acquired.

They check to make sure that the accounts of these companies are “clean” – free of fraud allegations – and are, therefore, safe for acquisition.

Lawyers, on the other hand, attend to the legal aspects of these transactions. If you do become a lawyer within corporate finance, it will be your job to make sure that your business organisation complies with all the legal aspects of the law – whether during mergers, acquisitions, or any other transactions.

Corporate finance lawyers need to be aware of all the red tapes and loopholes that the law offers so as to guide their company successfully through a particular transaction.

Ultimately, you will need to acquire sector-specific expertise if you intend to pursue a career in corporate finance, most of which will be obtained when you take up the professional qualifications needed for your post.

Required skills

Aside from the sector-specific qualifications that you need for your position, working in corporate finance will also require you to be an excellent communicator as you will be interacting with very different groups of people all the time.

You need to be both influential and persuasive when meeting brokers or striking deals with interested parties, and be able to communicate successfully with colleagues who may not have finance backgrounds.

Confidence is another important trait as you will need to carry yourself with professionalism when meeting clients. This often comes naturally as you gain familiarity and experience in the area of your work. Being able to work in teams and to adapt quickly are also positive traits to have.

Equally important are good numeracy skills, analytical skills and a solid understanding of the area of business that both your company or potential merger companiesare involved in. Career progression at a senior level depends a lot on your ability to network and to generate deal flow.

Ups and downs

Long hours and prolonged pressure are some of the more unfavourable aspects of corporate finance, but these are tempered by advantages such as the opportunity to experience working within a team comprised of different professional backgrounds.

This includes working closely with your superiors, which translates to less rank-oriented tension and a friendlier superior-subordinate relationship in your workplace. The pressure to do well, however, is also amplified as your performance may be constantly monitored.