Goldman Sachs seemingly has its eye on the disaffected fixed income professionals of Deutsche Bank. The U.S. firm is understood to have hired Miran Serdarevic, Deutsche’s head of real money sales in London.
Serdarevic joined Deutsche in October 2008 according to the Financial Conduct Authority Register. Headhunters say he was a star salesman at the German bank and one of the small proportion of top people who received a retention bonus last year in lieu of a performance bonus. His exit is therefore seen as a shock.”This is one of the good people, the top 10% whom Deutsche trained and promoted and really wanted to stay,” says one headhunter, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Deutsche declined to comment on Serdarevic’s exit and Goldman didn’t respond to a request for comment on his imminent arrival.
Serdarevic isn’t the first Goldman markets professional to go to Goldman this year. In February the U.S. bank also hired David Bodenstein, Deutsche’s head of financials credit trading for Europe. Bodenstein has only just started at Goldman but is already understood to have recruited a former colleague from his time at BNP Paribas.
Goldman’s fixed income trading business performed poorly in the first quarter. The bank has repeatedly blamed this on its business and client mix: it’s less strong in corporate credit trading and securitization than other U.S. banks, and suffered from falling activity in the institutional market. Serdarevic and Bodenstein are unlikely to resolve this: Deutsche too has been primarily focused on institutional clients, although it intends to change this.
Although Deutsche says it’s turned a corner after raising €8n in new capital and announcing a new strategy focused on the corporate market, headhunters say the credit business is riven with discontent. “There’s a bad atmosphere and there’s been friction between sales and trading for a while,” says one.
Serdarevic may not be the last to go. Although Deutsche’s share price has risen 14% since its lows of mid-April, it’s still 35% below the price it needs to hit by 2021 if the retention bonuses it awarded a few months ago are to be worth anything. “Deutsche Bank bonuses were mostly low across the board and other banks are taking advantage of that fact,” says Kumaran Surenthirathas, MD of Rosehill Search.
The exits follow research suggesting Deutsche’s bankers were (unsurprisingly) the most unhappy with 2016’s bonuses. The happiest were at J.P. Morgan.