First quarter results reflect that banks are still getting rid of people, but there's evidence to suggest that continued redundancies are being accompanied by furtive recruitment.
"A lot of houses are still subtly getting rid of people and don't want to publicize the fact that they're hiring at the same time," says the fixed income-focused partner at one search firm. "There are legal implications, so they've kept it low key."
Banks don't appear to have been publicizing hires in the way they may have done in the past. Calyon, for example, was silent on its appointment earlier this year of Alexandra MacMahon, a former Morgan Stanley managing director. According to recruiters this was because they were in the middle of making capital markets redundancies at the same time.
Equally, BarCap is thought to have hired William Tovey from UBS, but is declining to comment on the subject.
The exceptions to the rule appear to be Merrill, which announced two big hires earlier this month - a new head of fixed income from JPMorgan and a new head of asset management investment banking from UBS - and Deutsche, which hired from both Merrill and UBS in March.
Interestingly, the chart below (which requires magnification to be visible), produced by the Financial Times and published earlier this month, confirms that banks may have been hiring more than they've been letting on. The data displayed covers October 2008 to April 1st this year and includes various names which never made it into the press.
Even more interestingly, Citigroup, which hasn't stood out as an active hirer in the past six months, ranks as one of the biggest net gainers during the period.
Source: Financial Times