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Typical day on a corporate finance coverage team

John Edwards , corporate finance analyst covering renewable energy and environment sectors for a British bank, is sharing with us a typical work day

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John’s activity within the bank consists in assisting the bank’s clients active in the non-fossil energy (wind, solar, hydro power, bioenergy, geothermal, nuclear, etc.) and environment sectors (water, waste, carbon capture, etc.) with advisory, M&A, project finance, equity and principal investment services. Based in London, he also ensure, as a team’s member, the development of renewable energy business globally.

I usually wake up at 8

My very first task of the day is reading the overnight emails, especially the daily sector news update to catch any information which may be relevant to any of the deals I’m working on.

I’m usually in the tube at 8.30 and walk into the office around 9. Breakfast is on the desk.

I start each week with the team weekly call which is a rundown of all pending business (live mandates and pipeline deals). Each member of the team gives updates on their tasks on each deal. It is the perfect occasion to stay abreast of what is happening with other deal teams in the coverage group. The call usually runs for one hour.

After the weekly call, I usually spend another hour with my director for a deeper dive into my own deals and to align our priorities for the upcoming week

Presently, I’m staffed on a buy side mandate which has been put on hold by the client, another cross border multi-geography buy side mandate which we just won and for which I’m running the due diligence and developing the valuation model, and a multi geography project finance and advisory pitch to a global energy conglomerate. In addition, I’m writing 2 renewable energy subsector pitch books

The live buy side mandate is the obvious priority. Last week, the potential selling party provided us with company non public information and project models. My main task for the day is therefore going to be running through their assumptions in order to complete our own model.
- I would like to circulate a completed first draft to the deal team tonight so lunch is on the desk
- I need a view on subsector specific valuation trends post financial crisis. After lunch, I call our in-house data team to task them with the analysis of deals meeting criteria I have preset, target date is tonight. I have to do a bit of haggling over the deadline with them as they have other requests pending from within the team. After discussion with the colleagues, my request is deemed highest priority

At 3pm, there is a call with the client on the project finance pitch to discuss their need and details of the projects and geographies they are considering. The call concludes with confirmation of an end of week meeting with the client to pitch our capabilities. A deal team is formed and I’m tasked with putting together the slides on one of the geographies (power sector, renewable energy in that geography, the specific subsector, regulation, pros and cons). The complete book page flip is Wednesday to allow one day of changes and fine tuning before the meeting Friday
- I call Bloomberg New Energy Finance and ask them to send me everything they have in terms of notes on the renewable energy sector in the geography in question and give myself an hour to read the material and prepare a skeleton of the slides

At 6pm, I hit the gym downstairs to recharge. Depending on how busy I am, I do it either at lunch time or early evening. It is a very good booster when I feel I’m starting to slow down

When I get back from the gym, the in-house data team has sent across the breakdown of transactions I requested. For confidentiality and compliance reasons, we usually keep our request quite generic to avoid giving away privy transaction information. I therefore have to go through the details of each and every deal to ascertain they are truly comparable. Most of them are private company transactions so it requires quite a bit of recouping of different data sources. I finally decide to keep only the deals for which I find the full transaction details (equity and debt components as well as debt terms). Debt terms are especially critical as the sector is characterized by high leverage. I also need them as input into my valuation model.

I am finished cleaning up the data around 9. I spend another hour or so tweaking my model before sending it to the rest of the deal team. The timing is ideal for the asian team who will be able to review and send their comment by the time I get into the office tomorrow morning.

Before leaving for the day, I read a couple of research notes to add a few comments to one of the sector books I’m putting together.

I’m heading home at 10.30. This has been a relatively calm day and I’m quite happy there has been no fire drill or any other sort of emergency customer request that would have forced me to stay late.

Next Finance , December 2010

Article also available in : English EN | français FR

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