Trent Wilkins

How many 25 year olds can say they have escorted a Minister of Finance, CFO and CEO around the world, travelled to six global cities and met with over 50 investors all in one week?

I did this a few weeks ago and these are exactly the opportunities that Barclays opens up to you.

I have always been interested in Finance and Africa, so when I left LSE three years ago with an Economics degree, I thought Barclays would be the perfect place to start my career.  The team I work in is the Emerging Market (EM) Debt Capital Markets (DCM) team.  In short, we advise Corporates and Sovereigns (governments) in the CEEMEA region on how to raise fixed income products (such as bonds) in the international markets.  As you would expect, it's hard work and you need to learn fast.

The DCM  teams at Barclays are small.  Often an analyst or associate, such as myself,  will be working solely with his/her Managing Director or Director during the entire ‘origination’ and ‘execution’ process (FYI these are industry names for ‘winning’ and then ‘completing’ the business).  This means you have high levels of client exposure early on in your career, so you have to be pretty sharp.  One day you could be attending a client pitch in Istanbul, the next hosting a  dinner in Africa or even hosting the management team of a large Israeli corporate on a global Roadshow.  

The variety is what I find exciting and being so involved gives you a real sense of achievement. A great example of exactly what my role involves is a deal we have been working on recently.  This was with an African Sovereign (government) and they wanted a bank to advise on a transaction to help achieve their finance goal for their 2014 budget – for the entire country.  

Presenting a proposal of this kind involves a tremendous amount of research and market analysis, so for two weeks we spent many hours  making sure we had everything they could possibly need in the proposal.  Finally, we produced a document of over 100 pages which contained everything the client would want to know for a bond transaction and also about working with Barclays.  

After all this work, you can imagine how thrilled we were when we were chosen to be their partner bank – especially as over 10 banks had submitted proposals.  This is what makes all the effort worthwhile.  The client even referred to our proposal as the Debt Capital Markets bible – a fantastic compliment.

After eight weeks of documentation work the client was ready to proceed with the transaction.  A week long roadshow followed which basically involved taking the Finance Minister and his team around investors all over the US and Europe…an exciting experience, even with three overnight flights in five days.

The next and final stage of the deal is pricing.  Pricing day is most enjoyable yet stressful as our team basically sits in between the market and the client and tells them how well received their transaction is going – which can lead to a pretty difficult conversation if it's not going great.  Luckily this did not happen.  After an initial slow start the deal flew and we managed to achieve both the size and pricing targets for the client – a great result which was appreciated by the client even further given the tough market conditions.

Over the next year I will keep this blog updated regularly  and will hopefully provide an even more interesting and exciting insight into the world of an associate on the Barclays CEEMEA DCM team.