Bank of America has hired a new head of corporate and investment banking in Europe. He is Diego De Giorgi, from Goldman Sachs in America. This appears to be more than mere coincidence.
De Giorgi spent 18 years at Goldman in the US. Tom Montag, 'co-chief operating executive' at Bank of America, spent 22 years at Goldman Sachs. Christian Meissner, head of investment banking at Bank of America, spent 9 years at Goldman Sachs.
There is a common thread to these CVs.
Meissner said Diego's appeal stemmed partly from his 20 years' experience in, "European investment banking, covering financial institutions and southern European clients in particular."
However, M&A in Southern Europe hasn't been much of a big fee earner recently according to the following chart from Mergermarket:
In hiring De Giorgi, BAML might be expecting a rush of South European sales to overseas buyers. However, headhunters point out that he's also seen as a trusted pair of hands who Meissner and Montag are familiar with from Goldman and is therefore seen as a good thing at a difficult time.
"They've worked together closely before and De Giorgi is clearly seen as a good guy," says one M&A headhunter "A lot of hiring is done on this basis at a senior level."
"They all know each other. In this environment, it's all about hiring tried and trusted people," says another M&A consultant.
Needless to say, De Giorgi is not British and will be based in London, which is very normal for senior appointments in financial services. A paper released yesterday by the Centre for Economic Performance found that the financial services has a bigger percentage of 'immigrants' than any other industry in the UK and that 17% of the industry in the UK is comprised of non-British nationals. It also found that, generically, immigrants are better educated than Britons.