Recruiters seem enthused about the rest of this year. Maybe this is because they're enthusiastic generally, or maybe it's because hiring really is picking up. Maybe there's another reason. Either way, the fourth quarter has traditionally been a quiet time for bank recruitment - banks bide their time until the year end, protecting the bonus pool and culling a few politically ill-placed people so that there's more to go around everyone who's left behind.
If you leave a big bank in the next few months, you may therefore struggle to get back in again. Unless, that is, you apply to a Japanese bank. Japanese banks are still hiring.
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Register reveals that Mizuho has just recruited Marcel Faulstich from Royal Bank of Canada in London. Faulstich is a veteran Benelux fixed income salesman whose career to date has included 10 years at Nomura, two years at Commerzbank, three years at HSBC, and seven years at RBC. Mizuho has also hired Mark Shillam, an experienced emerging markets credit trader who left Credit Suisse in May after eight years with the Swiss bank.
Nomura is also hiring. The Japanese bank may have dumped 20 equity researchers in March as it decided to focus on core sectors, but it's been bolstering the equity research teams which are left behind. The FCA Register shows that it's just recruited Harald Hendriske, a highly ranked autos analyst who's spent the past few years at Citi.
It helps that Japanese banks have counter-cyclical year ends. While most U.S. banks report fourth quarter results in early January, Nomura and Mizuho both report in March.
Christian Robbins, director at financial services recruitment firm Cherry Bull, also puts Mitsubishi UFJ in the group of Japanese banks that will hire in London in the fourth quarter. "Japanese firms have been very keen to pick people up when they leave the big firms. They still have the ability to expand, albeit from a smaller base," he told us.
The head of recruitment at one Japanese bank in London said bankers from U.S. firms are evaluating their likely bonuses for 2013. Some are concluding it's better to move than hang around: "Some people are deciding they're not going to get paid at the firm they're with, so they're deciding to move over to us now - at a Japanese bank they still have seven months to amass a bonus that will be paid in 2014."
The same head of recruitment also said that his bank doesn't pay guarantees. However, Robbins said Japanese banks are known for paying generous year-end bonuses. "Japanese banks are generally viewed as paying well. They don't have any broader macro issues and they will usually pay for performance," he said.
Research by peer-to-peer pay specialist Emolument found that managing directors at Nomura are among the best paid in the City.