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SocGen offers its bankers another bite at €300k voluntary redundancy packages

societe générale

Good news for anyone who wants to leave SocGen and didn’t get a chance to claim the bank’s extremely generous voluntary redundancy packages in 2012: they’re allegedly on offer again.

Michel Marchet, a representative of the French CGT union told us that SocGen’s bankers have negotiated the same terms as previously for what Reuters says are 600-700 job cuts to come in the bank’s ‘central offices’. The new cuts are expected to be mostly voluntary. In 2012, SocGen encouraged its bankers to take voluntary redundancy by paying them a minimum of €30k and a maximum of €300k, depending upon their pay and length of service. The scheme was so generous that it ended up massively oversubscribed: 2,200 people wanted to leave SocGen, but only 800 were accepted. 

SocGen isn’t commenting on the alleged cuts, but we understand they’re mostly likely to effect staff in France. In February, the bank said it would be engaging in further restructuring after cutting 1,600 jobs from its corporate and investment bank last year.

Compliance job bubble bursting? 

According to Reuters, areas like compliance and IT will bear the brunt of SocGen’s cuts. SocGen staffed-up heavily in control functions like compliance after rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel lost €4.9bn at the bank in 2008. This looks like a reversal of that trend.

Klaus Woeste, global head of people and change at KPMG, said all banks have been building up their compliance functions and that the compliance job bubble is almost certain to burst. “Banks have been adding headcount to control functions left and right, but it’s not sustainable,” he told us. “At some point – probably in 2014 or 2015, they will have to bring staff numbers in control functions back down to a more sustainable level.”

SocGen may be preparing to trim compliance staff, but compliance recruiters said other banks are still hiring. “There’s a lot happening on the back of regulatory action last year,” said Marina Law, manager of compliance recruitment at Robert Walters. “Anywhere that has been fined for Libor or anti-money laundering issues is strengthening its compliance teams,” Law added.

Compliance staff let go from SocGen in Paris may therefore want to apply to Barclays, UBS, Deutsche, RBS, HSBC, or Standard Chartered in London.

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