At the risk of jinxing it, it seems for the moment that 2021 could be a strong year for recruitment in investment banks. Hiring is bouncing back after the pandemic, and there's sufficient differentiation in bonuses for people to feel the urge to swap jobs.
If you happen to be thinking of a new role for the new year, and you want to work for one of the major banks, these are their strategic priorities now. Let us know if we've missed anything out.
Bank of America, 2021 hiring
What they say: Speaking when BofA's results were released in January, CEO Brian Moynihan said the bank is enhancing its e-trading capabilities and that there's been a "multi-year effort" to recruit middle market bankers who can interface with BofA's "commercial banking relationship managers across the country." BofA CFO Paul Donofrio also said that BoA has been investing in its fixed income trading business, but didn't explain where.
What we see: Insiders at BofA says there's dissatisfaction with the 2020 bonus round, which may drive exits and lead to replacement hiring. People appear to be leaving in Paris. BofA might be expected to recruit in equities following the replacement of Fab Gallo with Soofian Zuberi last October, but there's little sign of this yet. In the meantime, BofA is hiring juniors for its healthcare banking team globally, and making multiple hires for its investment banking teams in Stockholm, Frankfurt and Paris
Barclays, 2021 hiring
What they say: Barclays has decided that pulling out of Asia five years ago was probably a bad idea, and will therefore - presumably - be hiring there again. "We’d like to put more into China," said CEO Jes Staley yesterday, adding that Barclays will also be continuing invest in Europe, "particularly with our corporate bank.” Speaking previously when Barclays' fourth quarter results were released in February, Staley said Barclays plans to continue to invest its "technology platform, offering digitized finance." There was also "excitement" about the U.S. mass affluent market, and a suggestion that Barclays might be building out its equity capital markets (ECM) business (it's notable that last August, the bank hired Manuel Esteve from Citi as head of ECM for continental Europe).
What we see? Barclays is boosting its Prague technology team, and be expected to add developers there. It's also hiring for its systematic market making team in Singapore and is hiring healthcare and leveraged finance bankers in New York, and power and utilities bankers in London. There's a range of open quant roles, especially in NYC where it's adding to a team looking at market microstructure.
Cost cutting? Not officially, but Barclays cut 60 jobs in March. CFO Tushar Morzaria said in February that, "cost actions is a way of life for us. And we, you know, we don't call it restructuring, we don't put it below the line, it's something we do every single year. "
Credit Suisse, 2021 hiring
What they say: Credit Suisse laid out its 2021 growth plans at last December's investor day: it wants to build on its "proprietary cross-asset electronic execution capabilities," to expand, "data analytics, cloud and cybersecurity," to hire coverage bankers in technology and healthcare, to grow its ESG team, to increase its share of financial sponsor M&A and to increase ultra-high net worth clients' use of its investment banking products... All or some of these initiatives might lead to hiring.
What we see: Credit Suisse just hired Amy Richardson from JPMorgan as global head of digital and user experience, based in New York City. It's also been hiring multiple analysts from CLSA in Hong Kong for its China Quantitative Insight team. It's investing in an 'eMacro platform' for macro electronic trading, and says it's hiring engineers at all levels of experience for these roles. It's also looking for a quantitative credit trading strategies modeller in New York, and for a junior banker to cover healthcare technology clients.
Cost cutting? At last year's investor day, the bullish message was that cost cutting was over and that Credit Suisse was returning to growth. However, the bank made a loss in the fourth quarter and is now facing potentially large losses from the collapse of Greensill Capital, so let's see.
Citi, 2021 hiring
What they say: Citi has a new CEO in the form of Jane Fraser. Before she became CEO on March 1st, Fraser said she engaged in a "dispassionate look" at Citi's "strategy and businesses," although it's not yet clear what she saw there. CFO Mark Mason said the bank is investing in "digital capabilities" across its institutional clients group (ICG) because, "innovation in technology is what's required to maintain a competitive advantage there." The bank also began "accelerating" investments in control functions last year, with $1bn put towards infrastructure, risk and compliance. And, as we reported today, it's preparing to make multiple hires in Asia.
What we see: As Citi invests in controls, people are arriving. It just recruited James Ferguson, formerly of JPMorgan, as a New York-based managing director in its risk team. This follows the arrival of David Zimmerman, a top financial services data professional who'd worked for Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, PWC and Millennium Management. Zimmerman can be expected to build out a team. Alongside its control and infrastructure investments, Citi is expected to hire in equities under Fater Belbachir, who joined Citi from Barclays as head of equities last May. Barclays' former head of of statistical modelling and development, Daniel Nehren, resurfaced as the global head of cash equities e-trading at Citi earlier this month.
Cost cutting? Presumably, yes, as Fraser simplifies the business. However, the cuts are unlikely to focus on ICG.
Deutsche Bank, 2021 hiring
What they say: Deutsche Bank's plans for hiring in 2021 were outlined at last year's investor day. - It wants to hire bankers to cover healthcare, industrials, consumer and Technology Media and Telecom (TMT) clients. It may recruit for U.S. flow credit trading, and it's hiring engineers - which has become easier by virtue of its partnership with Google, and it will be engaging in "end to end process reengineering" across all its businesses.
What we see: Deutsche Bank might not be saying much about it, but the bank has been doing a lot of recruiting for its rates business. Most recently, it hired Guy Winkworth, one of Morgan Stanley's best inflation traders in London. It's also recruiting 1,000 technologists in India (300 graduates, 700 lateral hires). Late last year it hired Danny Kinnear, formerly of Nomura, to build a structured forwards FX sales business across Europe (it's already advertising for an FX salesperson in Amsterdam). It also seems to be hiring for its UK M&A team after recruiting Oliver Ives as a managing director from Ondra in February, and is looking for healthcare bankers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Cost cutting? In theory, Deutsche has finished front office cost cutting in its investment bank after removing 10% of staff in late 2019-2020. However, it increased its business-wide cost-cutting initiative by €300m in December, and now wants to cut costs by €2.8bn by 2022.
Goldman Sachs, 2021 hiring
What they say: At last year's investor day, Goldman said it would be focusing on, 'transaction banking, third party alternatives, digital consumer banking and wealth management.' However, Goldman has hiring priorities in the investment bank too: it wants to, "expand its footprint across multiple segments" in M&A, said CFO Stephen Scherr in a presentation earlier this month, without saying precisely which segments those are. Investment in 'technology and platforms' is also ongoing, with over 100 recruits being made for a transaction banking platform in Singapore.
What we see: The firm continues to build out its data science and machine learning platform and is making junior and mid-ranking hires. It's hiring for its San Francisco TMT banking team, and wants an associate to work on its New York "digital assets" team working with distributed ledger technology. It has tens of jobs in its quantitative investment strategies (QIS) team. And it still has up to 50 open jobs globally working on its flagship Marquee platform.
Cost cutting? Yes. Goldman is taking $700m out of global markets, of which there's still $300m to go. It's all about "deepening relationships" with key clients (Goldman has a top 100).
HSBC, 2021 hiring
What they say: In theory, HSBC's hiring in 2021 will be all about Asia and especially all about Asian wealth management, where the bank wants to hire 3,000 “digitally-enabled” wealth planners by 2024. In its most recent strategy review, HSBC said it will be shifting, "capital to areas, principally Asia and wealth, that have demonstrated the highest returns and where we have sustainable advantage through scale”. It also wants to "digitize" market access and execution servicing and to expand its investment banking coverage of key sectors in Asia (without specifying which).
What we see: While HSBC cuts staff outside Asia - especially at management level - it's also strengthening its technology function under Steve Van Wyk, its new London-based global chief information officer.
Cost cutting? Absolutely. HSBC is cutting 35,000 jobs and has only removed 11,000 so far.
JPMorgan, hiring in 2021
What they say: JPMorgan is rarely explicit about its hiring intentions, but CFO Jennifer Piepszak said in January that the bank continues to hire, "bankers and advisors not only in the U.S., but also internationally," and to invest heavily in technology.
What we see: In London, JPMorgan just recruited a new head of M&A in the form of Charlie Jacobs from law firm Linklaters. It also hired former MP Chuka Umunna to oversee its ESG team. Jacobs especially may be expected to hire. Like many banks, JPMorgan is building-out a dedicated SPAC team: it just recruited Haidee Lee from Goldman Sachs as head M&A for its North America Strategic Investors Group, part of a SPAC coverage team led by Ariel Granoff and created early in 2021. It's also hiring for multiple blockchain-related jobs
Cost cutting: Yes, JPM is aiming for a top line cost reduction of $200m after reinvestment, including cuts of $500m thanks to "cost efficiencies" in its fixed cost base. This includes initiatives to make software engineers productive using things like blueprints stored in the cloud.
Morgan Stanley, 2021 hiring
What they say: Morgan Stanley is spending 2021 digesting its Eaton Vance and E*TRADE acquisitions and focusing on expanding its wealth and asset management businesses. However, MS reflected on the strength of its Asian and U.S. investment banking revenues and might be expected to hire accordingly.
What we see: Morgan Stanley might not be saying so, but it's already made several hires for its European fixed income business. In January, it hired Harsh Shah, the former head of fixed income origination and solutions at NatWest Markets, as EMEA head of fixed income division solutions sales. It's also been recruiting for its London rates desk following exits to Deutsche Bank. - MS hired George Mihail Mandres, a rates trader from hedge fund Rokos in February, and Ben Lewis, another hedge fund rates trader in January. And it's been hiring in Frankfurt, with the arrival of Felix Helbig as co-head of fixed income sales for Germany, and Sebastian Mentzen from BNP Paribas as a VP on its Frankfurt syndicate desk.
UBS, 2021 hiring
What they say: UBS has a new CEO in the form of Ralph Hamers from ING and Hamers is expected to "digitalize" the bank. For the moment, though, he's engaged in devising a strategy based on feedback from all the business areas. It's not clear what this new strategy will look like, but it will clearly involve technology. "We turn technology from an enabler, something that is at the end of the decision-making process to making technology a differentiator, which is at the beginning of the decision-making process and at the beginning of how we improve our services to our clients," said Hamers in January.
What we see: UBS may be losing bankers in Australia, but its generous 2020 bonuses should keep most people elsewhere happy and mean it doesn't have many gaps to fill while Hamers' strategy is finalized. It's expected to recruit in U.S equities after hiring Adrien Chammings as deputy head of U.S. equity derivatives exotic trading from Citi last October. It's hiring technology bankers in London and New York, and is hiring in China where it plans to double its headcount across all of its businesses in the next three to five years.
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