What are the Subdivisions of First-Market Positions? [Business Students]

According to statistics, nearly one-third of students studying abroad choose to major in business each year. But where do these students in the vast field of business aspire to work? Today, we'll discuss the subdivisions of first-market positions. 

The First-market

The first-market, also known as the issuance market or primary market, is where securities are initially offered to the public by capital seekers. This market primarily involves the trading of new financial instruments such as securities and notes. The major players in this market are well-known investment banks (IBs), securities firms, and brokers. 

Key employers in the first-market sector include banks, securities firms, trusts, funds, insurance companies, private equity, regulatory agencies, and public institutions. These are often referred to as "Bank-Securities-Insurance-Fund". 

Other related institutions include the Big Four accounting firms, financial advisory (FA), and corporate investment and financing positions. Jobs in the first market are mainly divided into underwriting, participation, and underwriting. 

Underwriting positions require a high level of resources and connections from business personnel, favoring applicants with strong connections and resources. Participation positions require strong professional capabilities and the ability to handle long-term projects. Underwriting roles demand resources and connections but typically have a slightly lower work intensity compared to participating roles. Here, we'll provide an introduction to the organizations that recruit the most fresh graduates and present some attractive positions in the first market. 

1. Banks

Banks in Singapore

1. Banks 

Banks are financial institutions that accept deposits, make loans, and provide other financial services to individuals and businesses. Banks in Singapore can be classified into three types: local banks, foreign banks, and wholesale banks. 

Local Banks 

Such as DBS Bank, OCBC Bank, and UOB Bank, are owned by Singaporeans and have a strong presence in the domestic market. 

Foreign Banks

Such as Citibank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered Bank, are owned by foreigners and have a global network of branches and subsidiaries. 

Wholesale Banks 

Such as BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, and JPMorgan Chase Bank, are foreign banks that operate under restricted licenses and mainly serve corporate clients.

Banks offer various career paths for fresh graduates, such as analysts, relationship managers, risk managers, or management trainees. Banks also offer different functions and departments, such as retail banking, corporate banking, investment banking, treasury, or compliance. 

To succeed in the banking industry, fresh graduates need to have strong analytical skills, communication skills, customer service skills, and business acumen. They also need to be adaptable to changing market conditions and regulatory requirements.

2. Securities Firms 

Securities firms are financial institutions that deal with securities, such as stocks, bonds, derivatives, and mutual funds. Securities firms can be divided into two types: 

Boutique Investment Banks 

Boutique investment banks are specialized by industry group and focus on in-depth industry research. Fresh graduates can quickly accumulate industry-related experience and knowledge by working as analysts or associates in these firms. 

Innovative Investment Banks

Innovative investment banks focus on A+H shares (shares listed on both the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Stock Exchange), innovative businesses, and merger and acquisition (M&A) solutions. They handle more complex transactions that require high financial and legal expertise.

Securities firms prefer to hire fresh graduates with STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) backgrounds who have excellent internship experience or academic achievements. Securities firms also value problem-solving skills, creativity, and teamwork skills. Working in securities firms can be rewarding but also demanding. 

Fresh graduates need to be prepared for long working hours, high-pressure situations, and frequent challenges. However, working in securities firms can also offer high bonus opportunities, with one project bonus sometimes equivalent to one year’s salary.

3. Private Equity (PE) and Venture Capital (VC) Investment Funds

VC firms in singapore

PE and VC funds are financial institutions that invest in private companies that have not yet gone public. VC funds usually invest in early-stage startups that have high growth potential but also high risk. 

VC funds support the startups’ growth by providing capital, expertise, and connections. 

PE funds usually invest in mature companies that have stable cash flows but need improvement or restructuring. PE funds help the companies increase their value by providing strategic guidance, operational efficiency, and financial leverage.

PE and VC funds require high business acumen and financial literacy from their employees. They recruit fewer fresh graduates and tend to hire more candidates with relevant experience. Employment opportunities are limited for fresh graduates in these segments. These jobs are high-risk, high-return, and often lead to self-doubt and challenges to one’s professional competence, as project failures are common. Candidates need strong resilience to succeed in these roles.

In a Nutshell

The banking and finance industry in Singapore is a dynamic and diverse industry that offers various career paths and opportunities for fresh graduates. However, it also requires high standards of skills, knowledge, and attitude from its employees. Fresh graduates who are interested in pursuing a career in the banking and finance industry should prepare themselves well by researching the industry segments, enhancing their hard and soft skills, and staying updated on the industry trends.