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Corporate Finance / M&A

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Corporate Finance: 2019 Review and What to Expect in 2020

2019 Review: 2019 was another strong year for the Corporate Finance market. As MHA Tait Walker states, at times it has been an unpredictable and slightly 'nervous' market place, but this hasn't stopped deals from completing. Based on 2019 Q3 deal statistics, 2019 saw an approximate 16% increase on 2018 levels across disposals, mergers and acquisitions, and development capital and fundraising. Despite the challenging deal environment that presented itself in 2019 for corporate financiers and invesment bankers, deals remained robust across certain sectors including Consumer, Healthcare and TMT. The same can be said for the recruitment side of the Corporate Finance market - the past year has undoubtedly been challenging and unpredictable at times, but all in all, the market has flourished. Here at Pro-Finance, we did see a few Corporate Finance boutiques postponing their recruitment processes, but these were mainly smaller clients who were at greater financial risk. Overall across all firm sizes, figures to date show that recruitment activity levels have been maintained, which has been fuelled particularly by UK companies seeking international opportunities. 2020 Prediction: The uncertainty of recent years will hopefully cease now that the near future of the British Government has been determined, with the General Election giving a majority to the Conservative Party. With the end in sight and the deadline for Brexit fast approaching, we predict that economic conditions will improve allowing businesses to grow and develop, and private equity investments will increase alongside the UK's political and economic state. This is reaffirmed by Adam Avigdori, co-founder of BlackRock Income and Growth Trust - "The employment market is strong, with underlying growth in both nominal and real wages for the first time in recent years. Combined with increased fiscal spending, we believe the UK economic outlook is more encouraging". The speed of Corporate Finance transactions are also likely to increase in the coming year as the UK has remained attractive for foreign investors, but the fluctuation of the pound inevitably slowed down deals in 2019. With economic stability this is expected to improve, and the volume of new deal opportunities as well as the time taken to close transactions will improve over the course of 2020. Here at Pro-Finance, we have seen a rise in demand for specialised Corporate Finance professionals within a range of different sectors. This is the case across investment banks, boutique firms and large accounting firms. We have also seen a growing need for experienced senior M&A professionals, as well a continued demand for Transaction Services professionals at all levels of experience from Associate all the way up to Director, which we will see throughout this year as well. The smaller boutique firms who postponed their recruitment last year as a result of political and financial uncertainty have picked up their search for talent right away in 2020. Despite the European trading impact of Brexit being unknown, these firms have resumed their recruitment activity - we predict that lively January is a sign of things to come in the Corporate Finance market this year. For more information on this article, or to speak to James Thompson about your recruiting needs or opportunities in the Corporate Finance market, contact him on 020 7269 6365 or james.thompson@pro-finance.co.uk.

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How Has Brexit Affected the Corporate Finance Space?

In June 2016, 51.9% of the UK public voted to leave the European Union and since then, speculation regarding the impact of Brexit on the UK economy has been rife. This has been the case particularly for the financial services sector, mainly because of the sector’s impact on the British economy and its international influence. There is no question that uncertainty of any kind affects business activity - it is more difficult to plan, make investment decisions, or forecast further than a few months ahead. However, post-Brexit there should not be too much of an impact on the Corporate Finance industry as a whole, nor on the jobs market. The nature of the market may change in regards to primary operating areas - we may see a move away from M&A due to the uncertainty of the economy and a move towards distressed companies, restructuring, debt and capital advisory. But, we should not expect the structure of private M&A transactions to change significantly as a result of Brexit. The latest Baker Tilly International research report, Global Dealmakers: Cross-border M&A Outlook 2019, upholds this. 54% of the 150 participating global dealmakers said M&A activity will increase through the rest of 2019 and beyond, with 71% intending to focus on cross-border investments as they seek out new markets. Southeast Asia and North America are among the top investment destinations, although large numbers of respondents intend to remain focused on their home markets which is positive for the UK M&A space. While geopolitical events and economic uncertainty in the UK surrounding Brexit is creating concern, dealmakers are remaining positive on their ability to get deals done and many anticipate an uptick to the ongoing rush of M&A transactions. The prospect of Britain’s exit from the European Union - especially if it takes place without a negotiated deal - will inevitably have some negative repercussions that affect not just the UK economy but economic stability around the world. At the same time, the concentration of Corporate Finance is not likely to change - what may change is how business sits within its sub-categories. M&A is likely to remain a prosperous market, as will the majority of financial services. London is the financial services capital of the world and going forward this will continue to be the case. In 2018 for example, the financial services sector contributed £132 billion to the UK economy, 6.9% of total economic output and 49% of the sector’s output was generated in London. In the last six months, we have not seen any notable negative changes in the job market - boutique and accountancy firms have seen little impact so far. In Q1 of 2019, there were 1.1 million financial services jobs in the UK and there will certainly be opportunities within the Corporate Finance market post-Brexit. For more information on this article or for any of your Corporate Finance recruitment needs, contact James Thompson on 020 7269 6365 or james.thompson@pro-finance.co.uk.

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Working in Corporate Finance: What to Expect and How to Get There

A role in Corporate Finance gives you the opportunity to be at the centre of how a business operates. Playing an active role in the commercial success of a business is both exciting and challenging and can be a very rewarding career choice. But what can you expect from a career in Corporate Finance, and how difficult is the jump? If you want to be at the heart of what makes businesses tick then a career in Corporate Finance might be the right path for you. You will get to see first-hand how organisations source funding, handle capital and complete takeovers and your role will cover a broad range of activities which are primarily concerned with transactions in which capital is raised in order to increase the value of the company or clients you are responsible for. There are a number of professional roles that fall under the umbrella of Corporate Finance in which you could find yourself working on a wide range of matters including mergers & acquisitions, raising startup or expansion capital, or financing joint ventures. As Corporate Finance is so integral to business and covers such a wide range of duties, the opportunities are vast. Roles can vary depending on the firm and the team you sit within, but typically you will work within transaction support of M&A or lead advisory, although more firms are beginning to offer hybrid roles which allow you to develop a broader skillset early on in your career. Many choose to qualify then remain as an advisor within an accountancy firm, or you can choose to make the move into a professional services company, whether this is an investment bank, brokerage firm or independent advisory firm. A role in Corporate Finance is forward-thinking, strategic, proactive and entrepreneurial in nature, and if you have good commercial awareness and a natural interest in business, it could be the right career path for you! How can you make the jump from Audit to Corporate Finance? We often find that people with an academic background in accounting & finance or economics are suited to a career in Corporate Finance. While no other specific qualifications are needed, we are seeing a rise in the number of people taking specialised financial modelling courses and having your ACA/ACCA/CFA will put you in a strong position and give you the necessary foundations to understand the fundamentals. Corporate Finance is a popular choice for lots of chartered accountants which, naturally, means there is a lot of competition - you will most likely find the market is swamped with your fellow audit and advisory colleagues as well as existing employees of banks, boutiques, and Big 4 M&A teams that may rank ahead of you as the ‘ideal’ Corporate Finance candidate. There are things you can do to help the progression of your own Corporate Finance career. You could move to an established firm with a large Corporate Finance division which provides the opportunity for secondments or ad hoc exposure. Training within the Audit team of an accountancy firm and studying for your ACA/ACCA will allow you to establish foundations that make the move into Corporate Finance more natural. Search for exposure that will differentiate you from other members of the audit team, develop your soft skills, and focus on the professional qualifications that will stand you in good stead when it comes to applying for the Corporate Finance roles available. Here at Pro-Finance, we have helped candidates make the jump from Audit to Corporate Finance, whether this is because we have placed the Partner they are meeting and they want to recruit externally, or because it’s a specialist boutique and they only take candidates with top-notch academics and experience from top-tier firms. Speaking to a specialist recruiter about your options in the market and the opportunities available can put you in a good position, help you stand out from the crowd, and help you to plan your career path in Corporate Finance. For more information on this article, or to speak to James about your next career step into Corporate Finance, contact him on 020 7269 6365 or james.thompson@pro-finance.co.uk.

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