While other banks in London are divesting themselves of some of their most junior investment banking division (IBD) staff, J.P. Morgan seems to stocking up.
The U.S. bank has posted five London analyst jobs and one associate job to its own careers site in the past three weeks. By comparison, Goldman Sachs has posted one single IBD job in London over the same period (and one in Frankfurt) and Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Citi have posted none at all.
Does J.P. Morgan know something other U.S. banks don't?
It might simply be that the bank is in a better position to hire than its rivals. J.P. Morgan's M&A revenues increased by nearly 8% year-on-year in the third quarter, while everyone else's fell or were flat (eg. Citi). Equally, J.P. Morgan is the global market leader in investment banking with an 8.1% market share, compared to 5% at Citi according to Dealogic.
Investment banking headhunters in London say it looks like J.P. Morgan is trying to get ahead of any New Year's hiring rush. "Banks have to declare their end of year headcount number on the 31st of December, but will sometimes start hiring now for the next year," says Andy Pringle at Circle Square recruitment. "It looks like J.P. Morgan's going first to pick up the best candidates."
While J.P. Morgan's hiring analysts and associates, European banks are letting them go. Credit Suisse is said to have made cuts from its Financial Institutions Group (FIG) team in last week's redundancy round and UBS is allegedly encouraging some of its juniors to look for new jobs elsewhere.
J.P. Morgan aside, there's not much on offer at big banks. Many European houses have recruitment freezes; Deutsche, for example, hasn't posted a single job to its own site since August. Instead, recruiters say large boutiques like Evercore have been keeping the London hiring market afloat. - Evercore has added 16 people since October according to the Financial Conduct Authority Register.
Figures out today from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley suggest London finance hiring increased 6% year-on-year in November as optimism returned to the market post-Brexit. Pringle suggests there's a chance recruitment of M&A juniors could surge in January as banks seek to replenish depleted teams. Other recruiters aren't so sure, however: "My guess is that there will be activity in January but it will be short-lived," says the head of another firm. "There's still a lot of uncertainty out there."