There were 154 front office fixed income derivative hires last year; 140 people are still out of the market. Expect to move down a tier in M&A

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Two search firms have produced two interesting pieces of research: one on fixed income derivatives, one on senior M&A hires.

Both are dark, with glimmers of light.

Fixed derivatives income: the massive overhang of the unemployed

The report on fixed income derivatives comes from search firm Nicholas Scott and is available in full here.

It shows a surprising amount of hiring in the area in the second half of 2011, but a lot of newly displaced persons too.

According to Nicholas Scott, around 154 people were recruited into fixed income derivatives roles in the second half. At the same time, 140 were let go and have yet to find new positions.

The report highlights the revolving door at RBS. The bank was one of the big fixed income derivative recruiters in the final six months of 2011, adding 12 people. However, it lost 10 and made 11 redundant. On one hand, RBS is clearly upgrading. On the other, it’s struggling to retain the staff it already has.

HSBC and Lloyds look the big upgraders in fixed income derivatives last year, adding another dozen people each. HSBC also lost two people to other firms and made 16 redundant; Lloyds lost 1 and got rid of 7.

Who will hire the 140? Lloyds and RBS are still doing, “selective hiring,” says Christian Robbins at Nicholas Scott. Lloyds looks like the better bet: it just hired Richard Moore of Citi and MF Global as head of trading. It seems hard to envisage more than a handful being rehoused, however.

M&A: Slipping, slipping

Meanwhile, search firm Sheffield Haworth has released some research on MD-level M&A moves inEuropein the second half of 2011.

It puts the big hirers, in percentage terms, as follows:

•Bank of America Merrill Lynch – 10.5%

•Citigroup – 10.5%

•Jefferies International – 7%

•Barclays Capital – 6%

•Royal Bank of Canada– 6%

But while there was hiring, Sheffield Haworth also highlights status slippage among senior M&A bankers.

In the second half of 2011, it says 21% of M&A bankers who changed jobs moved down a tier, versus 5% in 2010. Only 6% moved up a tier, compared to 14% in 2010.

Conclusion: 2nd tier banks have been paying big money to lure first tier rainmakers; or failing first tier bankers have been left with little choice of subsequent employers. Take your pick.

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