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Why Wall Street won’t care if Trump stops French and Germans working there

Donald Trump Wall Street

Wall Street is mostly staffed by Americans, Britons and Asians

Donald Trump’s tough talk on immigration has moved beyond the Muslim-Mexican paradigm. He wants to come down on French and German people coming into the U.S. too.

In a broadcast this weekend, Trump said he plans to subject French and German citizens to “extreme vetting”  before they enter the U.S. Germany and France have been, “totally compromised by terrorism,” said Trump, who previously promised to “immediately suspend immigration from any nation,” deemed to be in this state.

Putting aside questions of whether a handful of attacks of dubious origin amount to being totally compromised by terrorists, and whether Trump will actually be elected in November, will his threat to make life harder for French and Germans make much difference on Wall Street? Not really.

Figures from the eFinancialCareers CV database suggest investment banks in New York City employ very few French and German nationals. Using native tongue as a proxy for nationality, our figures suggest that little more than 3% of New York finance professionals are French or German. Wall Street does employ plenty of non-Americans, just not from mainland Europe. If French and Germans find it harder to work there it will therefore be a bit of a non-issue.

This is confirmed by young European finance professionals we spoke to. “I don’t know of any Germans on Wall Street,” said one German associate, “When I went to our office there, everyone seemed to be American or English.”

The lack of talent from mainland Europe is reflected by the comparative insularity of the U.S. M&A. – Figures from Dealogic indicate that just 13% of deals in which a U.S. firm is an acquirer are cross-border so far this year. This compares to 53% of deals in which EMEA firms are acquirers, and 19% of deals in which APAC firms are acquirers.

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