Career Case Study: Capital Markets

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Ashley Delp, Managing director and head of US equity syndicate, Jefferies

Ashley graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Economics in 1996. She has been working in investment banking for 15 years, and within equity capital markets for 13 of those. She joined Jefferies in April 2010.

"I joined an investment bank straight out of university and 15 years later I’m still in the industry. Along the way, I’ve had numerous mentors, and opportunities have presented themselves, but I also worked very hard, created some of those chances myself and took some leaps of faith – not the least of which was moving across the country for what I thought was a better role.

The equity capital markets team provides support in the origination of primary market transactions – managing the structuring, marketing, syndication and distribution of new equity issues. My team focuses on the syndication process for US public equity offerings.

There’s one thing I have to do every day in my job: spend a lot of time talking to clients. On one side are the institutional clients (namely, those buying the new securities) – what they think about a deal we have on the market, valuation, which parts of the investment story are interesting to them. Then, there’s the corporate

clients (i.e. those issuing the equity), and I speak to them about broader market conditions (both primary and secondary markets) and investor sentiment on their deal.

An essential skill in ECM is instilling confidence in your clients. Corporate clients trust you to help them through the process of raising money in the equity markets, which can be a daunting process (particularly for first-time issuers). You have to make them feel comfortable with the process. On the other side, institutional investors rely on you to manage the whole process and find the right investors at the best price. Having both parties walk away feeling good about the outcome is much more of an art than a science.

There are no dumb questions for people starting out in the industry. Remember, everyone came into banking knowing far less than they do now (or sometimes nothing at all). Most importantly, have fun every day – it can be about a cool aspect of a deal you are working on, learning something new or just enjoying the colleagues that you are working with."

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