Follow the leader

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What should you do if your boss sails off to another bank? Do you follow - or stay and maybe aim for his old position?

Banks often try to poach whole teams from rivals (take Credit Suisse Asset Management for example, which poached ING's entire small-cap equity team). Lee Humphrey at recruiter Derwent Consulting says there has been more movement of people in the past six months than he's seen in six years. "It's musical chairs: a leader goes, or a whole team, and new ones rush in to fill the space. If the leader is reputable and successful, his team will want to follow. They usually get extra incentives, which pushes salaries up all around the circuit. It's a chain reaction."

Deutsche Bank spokesperson Camilla Anderson says some employment contracts do their best to stop team moves happening. The bad news for banks is that contractual provisions, which typically stop leaders from enticing team members to their new employer, don't have much weight. A team can all arrange jobs at a rival and all resign on the same day with no breach of contract. Or a leader can go, and then his new bank advertises positions and the old team members 'independently' apply.

Neil Dyball at Robert Walters says it is common for a leader to want to take the team along for company. Is it wise to follow? "It works if it's a promotion; otherwise, they'd be better to stay put and go for the vacant job."

Deutsche's Anderson says: "It is important to do what's best for your career progression." Keep up your contact with the ex-leader, she says, but "seek new perspectives from other potential mentors internally."