Lm511
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Hi guys

I wanted to know that if I was to qualify as a ICAEW Chartered Accountant, would I be able to move into Investment Banking? I was also curious to know what qualifications would be needed to become a Investment Banker.

To give a bit of background knowledge Im doing a Accounting and Finance degree in Cardiff uni and hoping to come out with a 1st/ 2.1.

Any answers are highly appreciated
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WSL
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What year are you in at university?

Your degree is finance-related, which is arguably a plus -- although the degree you do doesn't matter when applying to investment banking.

Aside from that, the usual route would be Spring Week in year 1 (of university) --> investment banking internship in summer of year 2 --> applications to graduate roles in investment banking in your final year.

The majority of graduate roles at the BBs will be filled by applicants who have interned there previously. They then open up to other applicants to fill up remaining vacancies. Because of this, it's often considered a prerequisite to intern in your penultimate year. That said, there are still many people who get in without internships (I know 2 such people personally), so there probably isn't any harm in giving it a shot if you're already in your final year. You might also have some other finance-related experience that you could potentially leverage towards getting into IB.
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M1011
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(Original post by WSL)
What year are you in at university?

Your degree is finance-related, which is arguably a plus -- although the degree you do doesn't matter when applying to investment banking.

Aside from that, the usual route would be Spring Week in year 1 (of university) --> investment banking internship in summer of year 2 --> applications to graduate roles in investment banking in your final year.

The majority of graduate roles at the BBs will be filled by applicants who have interned there previously. They then open up to other applicants to fill up remaining vacancies. Because of this, it's often considered a prerequisite to intern in your penultimate year. That said, there are still many people who get in without internships (I know 2 such people personally), so there probably isn't any harm in giving it a shot if you're already in your final year. You might also have some other finance-related experience that you could potentially leverage towards getting into IB.
Think you kind of missed the question. Evidently his A-levels won't be fantastic (Cardiff), so he's unlikely to break in to IBD as a grad. He is asking of the odds of moving after qualifying as a chartered accountant (so 3 years after graduation).

OP - it happens, but you need to get relevant experience along the way. If you spend three years getting your ACA in industry/audit/tax (common routes), you're unlikely to make that move straight after qualifying. However if you say join and qualify with a big 4 working in their corporate finance team (namely M&A or TS) then you have a much better shot. Alternatively, qualify -> move to corp finance -> move to IB. This does happen, but it's semi-rare and I would suggest you don't spend the next 3 years+ training to do something which ultimately you don't want to do just so you can move.
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WSL
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(Original post by M1011)
Think you kind of missed the question. Evidently his A-levels won't be fantastic (Cardiff), so he's unlikely to break in to IBD as a grad. He is asking of the odds of moving after qualifying as a chartered accountant (so 3 years after graduation).

OP - it happens, but you need to get relevant experience along the way. If you spend three years getting your ACA in industry/audit/tax (common routes), you're unlikely to make that move straight after qualifying. However if you say join and qualify with a big 4 working in their corporate finance team (namely M&A or TS) then you have a much better shot. Alternatively, qualify -> move to corp finance -> move to IB. This does happen, but it's semi-rare and I would suggest you don't spend the next 3 years+ training to do something which ultimately you don't want to do just so you can move.
Hmm, well, as OP hasn't given details of his/her academic record, I don't feel comfortable passing that same judgement. Personally I think he/she should give it a shot in the final year -- what's there to lose? It's quite possible to apply to both IB and CA at the same time.
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M1011
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(Original post by WSL)
Hmm, well, as OP hasn't given details of his/her academic record, I don't feel comfortable passing that same judgement. Personally I think he/she should give it a shot in the final year -- what's there to lose? It's quite possible to apply to both IB and CA at the same time.
Agreed if IB is their aim they should make every effort to do it now rather than later.
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Lm511
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(Original post by M1011)
Evidently his A-levels won't be fantastic (Cardiff), so he's unlikely to break in to IBD as a grad. He is asking of the odds of moving after qualifying as a chartered accountant (so 3 years after graduation).

OP - it happens, but you need to get relevant experience along the way. If you spend three years getting your ACA in industry/audit/tax (common routes), you're unlikely to make that move straight after qualifying. However if you say join and qualify with a big 4 working in their corporate finance team (namely M&A or TS) then you have a much better shot. Alternatively, qualify -> move to corp finance -> move to IB. This does happen, but it's semi-rare and I would suggest you don't spend the next 3 years+ training to do something which ultimately you don't want to do just so you can move.
Going off topic, to say that my A levels wont be fantastic because I'm in Cardiff is a big statement considering I had 3 As (Business, English lit, ICT) and many of my friends who are doing Dentistry and Medicine all had 3A's/ 1A* and 2 As. Cardiff is a Russel Group uni and was 9th in the UK for Accounting and Finance when I got accepted and Surrey was 8th for Economics when I got accepted too. Reason I didn't go to LSE, UCL or Oxbridge uni is because my GCSEs were mediocre because of my lack of concentration to my studies before I turned 17.

Back to topic, thank you that's exactly what I needed to know. I do want to become a Chartered Accountant but I would eventually like to move into Investment Banking. One last question do the banks have summer internships? And how early would I have to apply?

Many thanks

Lm511
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gr8wizard10
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(Original post by Lm511)
Going off topic, to say that my A levels wont be fantastic because I'm in Cardiff is a big statement considering I had 3 As (Business, English lit, ICT) and many of my friends who are doing Dentistry and Medicine all had 3A's/ 1A* and 2 As. Cardiff is a Russel Group uni and was 9th in the UK for Accounting and Finance when I got accepted and Surrey was 8th for Economics when I got accepted too. Reason I didn't go to LSE, UCL or Oxbridge uni is because my GCSEs were mediocre because of my lack of concentration to my studies before I turned 17.

Back to topic, thank you that's exactly what I needed to know. I do want to become a Chartered Accountant but I would eventually like to move into Investment Banking. One last question do the banks have summer internships? And how early would I have to apply?

Many thanks

Lm511
Rankings change all the time. Banks don't give a crap if you're Russell group or not.

There's a list of universities that banks target which include the likes of Oxbridge/LSE/Imperial/Warwick and UCL. Also a hand full of students get into F/O from institutions like Durham/Nottingham/Edinborough/Bristol/Cass/York/Bath/King's/Manchester and unfortunately for you Cardiff isn't one of those (nor is Surrey). Although, that's not to say your chances are 0.

Definitely apply to SWs, summer internships etc.. if possible to make those all important (make or break) connections within the banking industry. Most vacancies are filled by interns who've been given a return offer.

M1011 gave a good account of the prospects of the Big4 route. It's long, tedious and doesn't garuntee anything at the end of the day. If IB is what you want, you should start working towards it now for graduate recruitment.
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WSL
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(Original post by Lm511)
Going off topic, to say that my A levels wont be fantastic because I'm in Cardiff is a big statement considering I had 3 As (Business, English lit, ICT) and many of my friends who are doing Dentistry and Medicine all had 3A's/ 1A* and 2 As. Cardiff is a Russel Group uni and was 9th in the UK for Accounting and Finance when I got accepted and Surrey was 8th for Economics when I got accepted too. Reason I didn't go to LSE, UCL or Oxbridge uni is because my GCSEs were mediocre because of my lack of concentration to my studies before I turned 17.

Back to topic, thank you that's exactly what I needed to know. I do want to become a Chartered Accountant but I would eventually like to move into Investment Banking. One last question do the banks have summer internships? And how early would I have to apply?

Many thanks

Lm511
Don't let people here put you off on the grounds that you go to a non-target. It isn't ideal, but there are a huge number of ways you can prove your competence during the IB application process to stand out and encourage banks to hire you.

I think you should reconsider going into CA and then jumping to IB -- is there any particular reason why you want to become a Chartered Accountant first? What's stopping you from applying to IB ASAP?
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Fairytail
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(Original post by M1011)
Think you kind of missed the question. Evidently his A-levels won't be fantastic (Cardiff), so he's unlikely to break in to IBD as a grad. He is asking of the odds of moving after qualifying as a chartered accountant (so 3 years after graduation).

OP - it happens, but you need to get relevant experience along the way. If you spend three years getting your ACA in industry/audit/tax (common routes), you're unlikely to make that move straight after qualifying. However if you say join and qualify with a big 4 working in their corporate finance team (namely M&A or TS) then you have a much better shot. Alternatively, qualify -> move to corp finance -> move to IB. This does happen, but it's semi-rare and I would suggest you don't spend the next 3 years+ training to do something which ultimately you don't want to do just so you can move.
wow arrogant much? you need AAB to get into their finance courses.
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M1011
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(Original post by Fairytail)
wow arrogant much? you need AAB to get into their finance courses.
Not arrogant, my a levels aren't good lol

In the context of investment banking (this thread), those grades and that uni aren't good. You pick one of the most competitive careers you need to have one of the most competitive profiles. Evidently the OP knows that (even if he did give me an arsy reply), else he wouldn't be figuring out the ACA to IB route.

So no not arrogant, pragmatic and actually gave a lot of insight to the OPs question...
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gr8wizard10
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(Original post by Fairytail)
wow arrogant much? you need AAB to get into their finance courses.
From what I've seen, your responses on this sub-forum are useless. This isn't a place where people come for pity.

It's not arrogant to suggest that IB is one of the most elitist/competitive fields of practice and stellar academics is just something that's a pre-requisite in today's era. It's incredibly rare to find someone in the profession (even within M/O and B/O roles) with a less than satisfactory academic history. As mentioned above, given the context, OPs record just won't cut it for most roles (assuming he has no related experience).

M1011 gave some good advice with regards to what OP should be aiming to do with regards to improving his profile to stand a better chance of breaking into the industry. This is the harsh reality, no-one said it was going to be easy.
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username1204872
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(Original post by M1011)
Think you kind of missed the question. Evidently his A-levels won't be fantastic (Cardiff), so he's unlikely to break in to IBD as a grad. He is asking of the odds of moving after qualifying as a chartered accountant (so 3 years after graduation).

OP - it happens, but you need to get relevant experience along the way. If you spend three years getting your ACA in industry/audit/tax (common routes), you're unlikely to make that move straight after qualifying. However if you say join and qualify with a big 4 working in their corporate finance team (namely M&A or TS) then you have a much better shot. Alternatively, qualify -> move to corp finance -> move to IB. This does happen, but it's semi-rare and I would suggest you don't spend the next 3 years+ training to do something which ultimately you don't want to do just so you can move.
I would go as far to say it's not even semi-rare. Completely agree with your first point though, IBs are very elitist for graduate roles.

I'm in FS audit at a Big 4 based in London and on my main client alone I have seen four senior associates within the space of just a few months of each other move into FO IB roles (2 of whom went into M&A and 2 in Equity Research). Granted they all did CFA Level I, but that isn't hard when you're waiting to time qualify after finishing your ACA exams within the first two years of your training contract.

I'm not so convinced about the cliche of TS -> IB being necessarily better than Big 4 FS audit. That's exactly what I read on TSR when I joined my firm 1.5 years ago, but I have seen so many auditors on my floor go into FO IB.

I have friends from university who work in PE, M&A etc. at bulge brackets and they view Big 4 FS audit as at the very least being as valuable as Big 4 TS/CF/Advisory. It's probably due to the view that Big 4 TS/CF/Advisory is still very much 3rd tier compared to the bulge brackets and boutiques, whereas you're working for the creme de la creme of audit firms if you're in the Big 4. Admittedly doesn't sound very rational, but it kind of makes sense. You learn pretty useful transferable skills as an FS auditor in a Big 4 firm.

OP - One of my previous seniors who did Economics at Cardiff is now an M&A Analyst at a Boutique. He did around 4 years of FS audit and he also did the CFA Level I.

Another one of my seniors did Business Management at Manchester University and is now an Equity Research Associate at Citi. He also did the CFA Level I after his ACA.

It's important to bear in mind though that these guys were hardworking, had an excellent command of accounting (particularly useful for Equity Research) and had a very solid foundation of finance (having been in the FS industry for 4+ years and having passed the CFA).

Overall yes it's feasible to move from chartered accountancy into IB. It would significantly help if you are in Big 4 FS audit/TS/Corporate Finance/Advisory. But it takes a lot of effort, and the first step for you would be to get a good degree in university so focus on that first.
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Classical Liberal
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(Original post by Roronoa)
I'm not so convinced about the cliche of TS -> IB being necessarily better than Big 4 FS audit. That's exactly what I read on TSR when I joined my firm 1.5 years ago, but I have seen so many auditors on my floor go into FO IB.

I have friends from university who work in PE, M&A etc. at bulge brackets and they view Big 4 FS audit as at the very least being as valuable as Big 4 TS/CF/Advisory. It's probably due to the view that Big 4 TS/CF/Advisory is still very much 3rd tier compared to the bulge brackets and boutiques, whereas you're working for the creme de la creme of audit firms if you're in the Big 4. Admittedly doesn't sound very rational, but it kind of makes sense. You learn pretty useful transferable skills as an FS auditor in a Big 4 firm..
All the skills you learn in audit you learn in TS, and more. The reason why you see lots of people go from FS audit to BB, as compared to TS, is because there are loads and loads of FS auditors and very few TS associates. The percentages on the other hand, quite different. Also, the FS audit people often have to jump through the additional hoop of the CFA. TS people have deals experience - which is where the money is made.
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username1204872
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(Original post by Classical Liberal)
All the skills you learn in audit you learn in TS, and more. The reason why you see lots of people go from FS audit to BB, as compared to TS, is because there are loads and loads of FS auditors and very few TS associates. The percentages on the other hand, quite different. Also, the FS audit people often have to jump through the additional hoop of the CFA. TS people have deals experience - which is where the money is made.
I'd say you're broadly correct but not entirely. On TS you employ a greater range of skills, but as far as knowledge is concerned you know a lot less about controls and operational risk than an auditor. So to say a TS person is more skilful than an auditor is a sweeping statement that isn't very true. There's a reason why a wider range of post-ACA jobs are available to auditors as opposed to individuals in TS.

Thought I'd also throw this out there - 80% of TS people in my firm did their share of 3+ years in audit anyway. It isn't hard to move into TS, provided you aren't a terrible auditor.

The reason why you see lots of people go from FS audit to BB, as compared to TS, is because there are loads and loads of FS auditors and very few TS associates. The percentages on the other hand, quite different.
I never compared the TS numbers in BBs to audit as I wouldn't know since I don't work in TS. But I've learned that Big 4 TS is nothing even remotely glamorous compared to BB IBD. They are paid peanuts in comparison. So it doesn't make sense to move into TS if you can get a BB FO role via the FS audit route, which from what I have seen is entirely feasible.

As far as percentages are concerned, four senior associates on my main client were actively looking for IB FO roles between January and March 2014. All four senior associates, as of September 2014, are now in IB FO positions which equates to a 100% success rate.

Also, the FS audit people often have to jump through the additional hoop of the CFA.
The CFA is a great qualification. Don't see anything wrong with doing it.

TS people have deals experience - which is where the money is made.
The deals in Big 4 TS are tiny and the Big 4 still rely predominantly on audit income.

The deals experience that TS people have at the senior associate level is grunt work. We're talking granular level financial due diligence. They are the least bit involved in making deals. The managers who start to get involved in higher level stuff are on less than an IBD associate.
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Classical Liberal
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(Original post by Roronoa)
I never compared the TS numbers in BBs to audit as I wouldn't know since I don't work in TS. But I've learned that Big 4 TS is nothing even remotely glamorous compared to BB IBD. They are paid peanuts in comparison. So it doesn't make sense to move into TS if you can get a BB FO role via the FS audit route, which from what I have seen is entirely feasible.
There is no doubt that if show you are really keen to work in IBD, you get first time passes on all your exams, and you got a first from a decent university on a relatively tough course, you can get into BB IBD, from big 4 audit.

The main issue is you probably see audit and think, no way do I want to work harder (much harder) than this.
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username1204872
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(Original post by Classical Liberal)
There is no doubt that if show you are really keen to work in IBD, you get first time passes on all your exams, and you got a first from a decent university on a relatively tough course, you can get into BB IBD, from big 4 audit.

The main issue is you probably see audit and think, no way do I want to work harder (much harder) than this.
Huh?
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Classical Liberal
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(Original post by Roronoa)
Huh?
Audit is chilled compared to IBD - and audit ain't chilled. A move from qualified auditor to analyst IBD is a move to much gruntier and menial work and much longer hours (although that depends on whether you are fortunate enough to get put on live deals rather than just pitching) - and not a massive increase in pay immediately and significant reduction in job security.
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username1204872
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(Original post by Classical Liberal)
Audit is chilled compared to IBD - and audit ain't chilled. A move from qualified auditor to analyst IBD is a move to much gruntier and menial work and much longer hours (although that depends on whether you are fortunate enough to get put on live deals rather than just pitching) - and not a massive increase in pay immediately and significant reduction in job security.
That depends where you work in IBD. M&A at a bulge bracket, then you are definitely talking longer hours in M&A. Similar hours if you're doing M&A in a boutique, and fewer hours in the smaller boutiques.

But my hours in FS audit are definitely worse than ECM hours (also IBD). Even ECM at a bulge bracket.

Also IBD isn't the only FO IB option. There's ER, in fact ER is the most common FO IB route for Big 4 ACAs. And hours for ER are great compared to IBD and you hardly have to work weekends.

A move from qualified auditor to analyst IBD is a move to much gruntier and menial work and much longer hours (although that depends on whether you are fortunate enough to get put on live deals rather than just pitching) - and not a massive increase in pay immediately and significant reduction in job security
That's just not true. Qualified FS audit ACAs start off as associates in IBD and are on 65K+ (even more at BBs).

The significant reduction in job security is such a skewed statement. Yes IB roles are inherently more volatile, but unlike many of your IB peers you have an ACA under your belt. You won't ever have to earn any less than 45K if you have a Big 4 FS audit background.
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Classical Liberal
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(Original post by Roronoa)
That's just not true. Qualified FS audit ACAs start off as associates in IBD and are on 65K+ (even more at BBs).
In M&A, I'm under the impression that qualified ACAs are essentially treated like a 2nd year analyst (in terms of remuneration), not an associate. Maybe it's different in other areas...

You make a very good point about job security for ACAs.
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username1204872
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(Original post by Classical Liberal)
In M&A, I'm under the impression that qualified ACAs are essentially treated like a 2nd year analyst (in terms of remuneration), not an associate. Maybe it's different in other areas...

You make a very good point about job security for ACAs.
Well you're misinformed. They are ACA qualified. It isn't an easy qualification. Perfectly reasonable for ACAs to start off as Associates. See the PM I sent you.
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