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RBS’s investment bank is doing some huge hiring. Just not where you might expect

It’s surely a bad sign for anyone who still aspires to work in a trading job at RBS, that when you look at the bank’s own careers website there’s no category for the corporate and investment bank: the only ostensible options are customer service, mortgage advising, audit, technology, and ‘graduate and early careers’.

What happened to rates sales jobs? What happened to rates trading? Where are the credit trading and credit sales roles? We’ll know more later, when RBS is promising a deep dive into the strategy for its investment bank.

In the case of credit, however, the answer is already fairly clear: despite the occasional furtive hire, RBS’s credit trading jobs are disappearing. When the bank announced its third quarter results late last month, it revealed that revenues from credit sales and trading were just £35m in the third quarter, down from £188m in Q3 2013 and £110m in Q3 2014. That’s a 81% drop in two years. Market conditions for credit traders have been bad, but not that bad.

RBS has certainly been cutting jobs from the corporate and investment bank (CIB) in London. 300 went in the last quarter, and since November 2013 the number of FCA registered staff RBS employs in the city has fallen by 30%, to 1,076 people. At its peak, in September 2011, RBS had 2,411 registered people in its investment bank in London.

In theory, RBS’s investment bank is cutting costs. It needs to: even excluding restructuring and ‘conduct’ costs (fines), the CIB made an operating loss of £270m in the third quarter. In reality, however, costs in the investment bank are still rising.- And it’s not because of any front office banker hiring.

During the call accompanying the bank’s third quarter results, CEO Ross McEwan, said cost cutting in the investment bank is likely to be “back end loaded.” This is because RBS’s corporate and investment bank is engaged in a, “significant IT re-platforming,” said McEwan. “Until that goes through the cost take out is likely to be more back-ended than some people assume,” he added.

In other words, like Deutsche, RBS needs to rework its technology platform in the investment bank. Like Deutsche, it therefore needs to hire in technologists. Unlike Deutsche, however, which has seemingly decided that cheap technologists aren’t worth the hassle, RBS seems to be focusing its CIB technology hiring in India. The bank is currently advertising 220 vacancies on the subcontinent, many of them at its technology operation in Gurgaon, Haryana, where Glassdoor puts the average salary for a software designer at £13k.

By comparison, RBS has 140 jobs open in London and that includes mortgage advisors and retail bankers. There are no advertised vacancies for trading jobs in the investment bank. If you want a job at RBS’s investment bank now, you may need to emigrate.

Photo credit: Elliott Brown

 

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