A Day in the Life of an M&A Analyst at RBC Capital Markets

by Derek Loosvelt | January 19, 2011

As part of our ongoing series of new Days in the Life, here's a typical 13-and-a-half-hour period in the life of a merger and acquisition analyst at RBC Capital Markets (called "The Goldman of Canada" in our latest Banking Survey), proving that it's possible to work in M&A -- and leave before midnight. This analyst works in RBCCM's Toronto office.

7:30 a.m.  Wake up to my BlackBerry alarm and check emails that came through overnight. This morning a few came in from a U.K.-based client (it's now past noon their time). A hostile bid has been announced and the client wants a summary.

7:45 a.m.  Eat breakfast while reading the Canadian business news (I always eat at home since it saves money and is a good way to get the day going).

8:15 a.m.  Brush my teeth, shower, then head to work (it's about a 40-minute commute; I take the bus to the subway and the subway to the office). As long as I have cell phone service, I monitor my BlackBerry to keep on top of what's happening.

9:00 a.m.  Arrive at the office and immediately begin preparing the summary of the hostile bid. On this deal, our internal M&A deal team consists of me, an associate, a vice president, a director, a managing director and the co-head of the M&A Group. I work with the associate to prepare the analysis in Excel (which is fairly detailed and quite interesting). Then we paste it into a PowerPoint presentation for the client.

11:30 a.m.  Our M&A group has our tri-weekly conference call, which serves to update the whole group on news and developments over the past three weeks. The Toronto team takes the call from a conference room, and usually around 20 people show up. Teams from New York, London and San Francisco also participate. In total probably 40 to 50 people are on the call.

12:00 p.m.  Eat a sandwich (that I brought from home) at my desk. (I usually make myself a sandwich in the morning; it's healthier than eating in the food court.)

12:30 p.m.  Spend the rest of the afternoon updating the summary of the hostile bid (the client had some follow-up requests) and working on another deal. (I'm usually working on a few deals at a time.) For this other deal I chart the target company's share prices over time, analyze the metrics of comparable companies (such as P/E and EV/EBITDA ratios) and consider who might want to acquire it. Again, a lot of the work is done in Excel and then pasted into a PowerPoint presentation. Also, a managing director is travelling today and needs to monitor how a company is trading. So, every two hours I send him a brief update with things like its share price and volume.

3:00 p.m.  Short break. Eat a snack and read the news online.

3:15 p.m.  Return to the hostile bid summary and analysis regarding the other deal.

4:30 pm.  Prepare daily trading summaries for some of our clients. Email the summaries to everyone on various deal teams to keep them up-to-date with how the respective client, its peers and certain indicators are performing in the market.

6:00 p.m.  Dinner arrives at the office. (There's a rotation of analysts who order dinner for the M&A group; typically a menu gets sent around in an email and I respond with my order.) Tonight we're having sushi (a popular choice). We eat together in a conference room (a good chance to take a break and chat with coworkers).

7:00 p.m.  I'm on a deal involving a Calgary-based company, and the Toronto M&A deal team heads to a meeting room to dial into a conference call. The deal is mostly being run out of Calgary since they're closer to the client, but we still need to stay up-to-date.

8:00 p.m.  Head to the gym for a squash game. I keep my BlackBerry with me and check it between games in case something urgent comes up.

9:00 p.m.  Back at the office, I tie up loose ends on the deals I'm working on. By this point the office is mainly filled with analysts and associates so it's easier to get work done.

11:00 p.m.  Leave for the day. (In the past I've left as early as 7 p.m. if I'm not too busy, but I've also spent the entire night at the office. It's not uncommon to have a string of nights where I leave before 9 p.m., or a string where I leave after 2 a.m.)

Filed Under: Finance


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