Never burn your bridges: they may prove a helpful conduit into a new role in future.
Headhunters point out that some of the recent hires in London's equities market seem to have involved working relationships forged years before.
For example, it was reported last week that Nomura hired Matt Johnson a managing director in its equities division. Johnson came from ETF Securities, an investment firm focused (self-evidently) on ETF investments.
Johnson's provenance sounds a little obscure, until you consider that prior to joining ETF Securities, he was co-head of derivative sales across EMEA at Bank of America. And who is current head of European equity sales at Nomura? No more than Mike Ward, Johnson's old BofA colleague. It seems highly likely that Ward's experience of working with Johnson in the past helped Johnson move to Nomura.
Similarly, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) has just hired Whitfield Hines from HSBC as its London-based head of EMEA equity derivative sales. Hines' move from British universal bank to U.S. blue chip institution was almost certainly helped by the sixteen years he previously spent at Morgan Stanley, both as New York-based head of US institutional derivatives flow sales and head of European institutional derivatives flow sales in London. BAML's equities business is currently co-headed by Fabrizio Gallo, the former head of prop trading at Morgan Stanley. As we pointed out last year, Gallo has been shaking up BAML's equity derivatives business, and hiring former Morgan Stanley colleagues. In June 2013 Gallo brought in Julien Bahruel as global head of derivative sales at BAML. Bahruel, another ex-Morgan Stanley banker, had previously been working for UBS in Asia. Other ex-Morgan Stanley equities bankers may want to get in touch with Gallo too.
"Banking is very cliquey," pointed out one equities headhunter, speaking off the record. Unsurprisingly, these cliques are often the best way of finding a new job.