With the exception of Macquarie and Nomura, most bonuses have been announced.In general, it’s not pretty. Expectations were managed down, but still.
Disgruntlement is widespread, but in each business area (IBD, equities, fixed income currencies and commodities), there are some places where it apparently runs deeper than others. Based upon conversations with recruiters, we’ve listed these places below.
And if you’re one of the people swimming in the damp waters of disaffection? We’ve suggested some alternative venues which might come to your rescue.
Deep disaffection in equities: UBS and Citi
The upset in equities is especially widespread at UBS, claim headhunters, who say they’re being approached by a lot of UBS people who got zeroes and that the Swiss bank’s equities bonus pool was down, “significantly.
Citi’s equities bankers were also said by several headhunters to rank among the most disaffected.
Who’s hiring equities bankers? Unfortunately, no one is hiring in large numbers. However, there is equities hiring in, “pockets.” These pockets are said to be found at: Jefferies, Berenberg, Macquarie. Failing that, try Shore Capital or Redburn.
Deep disaffection in FICC: RBS, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas.
Even while it pulls out of equities and corporate finance, RBS is supposed to be strengthening its franchise in FICC. This may prove a wishful thinking: headhunters say RBS’s FICC staff are queuing up to leave.
“The mood at RBS is pretty low generally,” says the FICC-focused head of one search boutique. “It’s not just the bad bonus pool – it’s all the politics that goes with it.”
It doesn’t help that RBS may need to make additional redundancies in its FICC team.
Credit Suisse’s FICC bankers are also said to be particularly displeased following a combination of low bonuses and the introduction of the dreaded PAF2 bonus programme, which headhunters say could leave them tied in for up to 8 years (even though it’s supposedly partially redeemable after 4).
“The first PAF scheme offered a lot of upside and was seen as a good thing,” says one headhunter. “But with PAF2, Credit Suisse bankers just get the coupon and there’s no opportunity for them to get more than 100% of their money. In theory, the bank can redeem it after 4 years – but it doesn’t have to.”
BNP Paribas’s FICC bankers are also said to be unhappy. “It’s been a tough round at BNP,” says the headhunter. “A lot of their people got nothing.”
Who’s hiring FICC bankers? Unfortunately, disgruntled fixed income bankers will struggle to find an alternative. “There’s a bid out there, but it’s only for the top 5-10% of people,” says the head of the fixed income boutique we spoke to: “All banks are upgrading, a little.”
Deep disaffection in M&A: UBS
M&A bonuses at UBS were, “absolutely shocking,” according to the corporate finance- focused director of one search firm. “About 50% of people got doughnuts in UBS’s advisory business,” he alleges.
Who’s hiring M&A bankers? If you’re an M&A banker who feels hard done by, you could try Barclays Capital, which is rumoured to be contemplating further expansion of its M&A team. You could also try getting out of big banks entirely. “The mystique of the bulge bracket has disappeared,” claims John Axworthy at search firm Wheat. “A lot of people are moving to independent firms.”