Adrian K. Siew
I am a Vice President at Lazard Frères & Co, one of the world’s largest independent investment banks. I work within a niche area of investment banking, private capital advisory, which focuses on advising institutional investors and financial sponsors on secondary market liquidity solutions.
Privileged to be based in New York, the headquarters of the firm, I have unparalleled access and visibility to the largest and most complex deals in the market. While there is no typical day, I can summarize what I do into three categories.
- Transaction execution – managing teams and working with the private market investors (private equity firms, hedge funds, venture capital firms and limited partners) to execute secondary market transactions. This includes a wide range of tasks including transaction management, reviewing valuation and financial analysis, deal strategy, negotiation and liaising with investors
- Deal origination and business development – partnering with Managing Directors to source new opportunities. This often involves a lot of travel and meals (in a pre-COVID world) with existing and prospective clients and investors
- Team management – In the New York office, the private capital advisory team has over 40 bankers and as the team ‘staffer’ I work with the Global Head of Private Capital and the team COO on staffing transactions, analyst/associate training, recruiting and strategic planning
"While a key part of these society groups is the social element, taking leadership roles helps strengthen skills that are critical to your career such as confidence, influencing people and time management."
After graduating high school, I knew I wanted to be in commerce. However, I was not sure which discipline. The curriculum at Monash was diverse and provided the opportunity to explore different majors. I eventually gravitated towards finance and econometrics, as the concept of future value and forecasting spiked my interested.
In terms of course work, one class that really stood out taught financial analysis by emulating what it would be like to work at an investment bank by getting students to perform fundamental valuation analysis of a real company.
The class required we form groups (i.e. ‘deal teams’) to identify and breakdown the value drivers of an ASX-listed company. This included everything from visiting company stores, interviewing experts in the field and building a valuation model. While the class was fairly intense, the demanding curriculum built strong bonds within deal teams, and to this day, 10 years later, I am still in touch with my deal team.
The benefits of pursuing a career in commerce is that it is dynamic and broad. Mastering the fundamentals should be the priority of graduates entering the workforce as everything is interconnected. As you mature in your career, you will naturally gravitate towards your interests however, investing in your foundational knowledge across many disciplines enables you to connect, relate and influence better, which I believe is incredibly important for a successful and long-lasting career.
Upon graduation, I did not go into finance; I started my career in management consulting. Similar to my approach at University, I wanted to work in a broad area of business, solving problems across different industries.
In consulting, I built my core toolkit in strategy and analysis, solving a wide range of strategic problems from pricing immigration visas to a merger and acquisition integration. After a few years, I worked for a global conglomerate in Melbourne and New York, then pivoted back to management consulting in New York for a couple years before my transition to where I am now in investment banking.
At Monash, I was actively involved with the Economics and Commerce Student Society (now known as the BCSS). I was the Assistant Treasurer (2008) and subsequently the Treasurer (2009) for the society. Getting involved in student professional societies was a highlight of my time at Monash.
Through my involvement, I made lifelong friends (a few who now live a couple blocks away from me in Manhattan) and the professional development activities enriched my time at the University.
While a key part of these society groups is the social element, taking leadership roles helps strengthen skills that are critical to your career such as confidence, influencing people and time management.
Working at Lazard is intellectually stimulating, entrepreneurial and dynamic. A notable public transaction I worked on was the spin-out of assets from New Enterprise Associates to a new venture fund, named NewView Capital, a $1.4 USD billion transaction. At the time of the transaction, it was the largest venture direct secondary completed and a career milestone of mine.
The transaction pushed me to work across all facets of the deal and deepened my knowledge of the venture capital ecosystem, which I now focus the majority of my time and effort on.
Looking forward I am excited to continue building the venture and growth platform and capability within the private capital advisory team at Lazard.