After long deliberation on an appropriately wet morning, here is our (latest) definitive guide to where to hide if you still want to be assured of having a job in 12 months’ time.
1) Mid tier and boutiques (except Singer & Friedlander): With the number of big banks falling faster than Dick Fuld’s list of friends, boutiques and mid-tier firms should fill the gap. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods are the latest to say so – yesterday they produced a research note claiming “‘The 100-Year Storm’ has created unprecedented opportunities, in our view, for the mid-tier firms to add breadth and depth to their businesses both domestically and abroad….” Who are these “boutiques”? KBW’s US-centric list includes Lazard, Greenhill, Evercore and Jefferies. We’d add Rothschild. Singer & Friedlander is the obvious exception, what with being owned by Kaupthing.
2) Mezzanine: Mezzanine financing wasn’t big when credit was flowing freely. It’s getting bigger with leveraged funds now out of the picture. Dow Jones says US buyout firms and corporations raised a total of $24bn in the first half of 2008, up from $2bn in the first half of 2007.
3) Tax accountants: In the absence of total anarchy, governments will always need cash. Last week, PricewaterhouseCoopers said that global tax planning is the way to go.
4) Anywhere to do with renewable energy: We’ve written about this already this morning. Suffice to say: global warming, UK gas shortages, carbon taxes, free wind.
5) Restructuring boutiques: Think Houlihan Lokey, Close Brothers, Rothschild. They don’t employ many people. They’re not that busy yet. They will be soon.
6) Investor relations functions: As long as corporates exist, they will need someone to explain what’s happening to their share price to investors. If the share price is plummeting, this will be all the more necessary.
7) Volatility trading: With the Vix higher than it’s ever been before, now’s a good time to be trading volatility. Bloomberg says volatility traders are having their “best year ever”.
8) France: France may be officially in recession, but neither BNP Paribas nor SocGen are doing too badly. The country also has punitive labour laws which means that once you’ve got a job it will be hard to get you out of it.
9) Pensions insurers: Corporate pension deficits are back and offloading pensions obligations is catching on. Financial News says pensions insurers are gearing up for a “hectic autumn”.
10) Litigation lawyers: The Financial Times is predicting an ‘avalanche’ of credit crunch related lawsuits.
11) The state: The US government is already looking for asset managers to help orchestrate its $700bn rescue fund. The UK government may soon need a little help of its own.
12) The IMF: It hasn’t been very active in the financial crisis so far, but Iceland’s near-meltdown is a reminder that the IMF is there, sitting docilely in the background. It likes to hire economists.
13) Debt collection agencies: UK consumers are more indebted than any group of people in the G7 ever. Debt collectors may not be paid as much as bankers, but they will be busy.
14) McDonalds: The Dow plummeted yesterday, but McDonalds didn’t. That kind of resilience is saying something.