However bad the pain in the banking jobs market has seemed in the past 12 months, it has been – frankly – nothing compared to the turmoil of 2008 and 2009.
Bank-by-bank graphs from the ever-informative data resource that is IMAS Insight, reveal the extent of the trauma among FSA registered persons a few years ago. At many firms, there was a cliff drop in the number of FSA registered employees (persons performing so-called ‘controlled functions’) in the matter of a few months.
Interestingly IMAS’s FSA data also reveals that firms like Goldman Sachs International, Citigroup, BarCap and UBS, have rebuilt their UK-based businesses almost entirely since those lows – with Goldman and BarCap now having more regulated individuals than before the crash. Citi has substantially built up its European equities business since April 2009. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has built a large corporate and retail banking platform in the UK.
Other banks, however, have yet to recover from the body blow that was 2008. In the UK, Morgan Stanley didn’t appear to go in for the hiring of 2010. Credit Suisse did, but has now cut back again.
As indicators of headcount trends, the graphs below from IMAS aren’t infallible: most banks have several registered entities in the UK and can shift registered individuals between each. For this reason, we haven’t published anything for Bank of America’s sales and trading division, where the overall trend is unclear. On the whole, however, the graphs below provide an accurate portrait of recent headcount trends at each bank in London.
The big question – for banks which have built up again in the past two years – is what comes next?
Goldman Sachs International, registered persons
Goldman went from a high of 2,134 registered persons in February 2008 to a low of 1,927 in August 2009. It has since rebuilt its London based registered persons to 2,235.
Citigroup Global Markets, equities, registered persons
Citigroup has substantially increased headcount in its London-based equities business. In February 2009, it had around 140 registered persons. Now it has 302. With equities revenues uncertain, the big question is whether this can be sustained.
Citigroup global markets, registered persons
Away from equities, Citigroup made big cuts in 2008, and has since rebuilt its sales and trading business. Its numbers are stable, but below previous highs.
Barclays Capital, registered persons
IMAS’s figures from the FSA for BarCap reveal the extent to which the British bank has hired in London since the redundancies of late 2008. In December 2008 it had around 1,650 registered people. By February 2012, this had increased to 2,055.
JPMorgan Securities, registered persons
JPMorgan has a few registered entities in London, suggesting it may have moved staff between each. However, all show a similar pattern: a big cut in 2008 followed by stabilisation at a new, lower, total between 2010 and 2012.
Credit Suisse International, registered persons
The chart for Credit Suisse is a little tragic. Having cut staff vigorously at the end of 2008, it hired again through 2010, only to cut vigorously again at the end of last year. In February 2012, Credit Suisse International had 1,585 registered persons – fewer than its previous low of 1,607 in January 2009. The question is whether it has been pre-emptively astute in right-sizing to fit the new reality, and whether other banks will need to follow its example.
UBS Limited, registered persons
UBS also has a number of registered entities in London – most notably UBS Limited and UBS AG. However, the trend at both is similar: big cutting post 2008, with biggish hiring thereafter. However, it has yet to reach its pre-crisis highs.
Merrill Lynch International Bank, registered persons
We haven’t included a graph for sales and trading staff at Merrill Lynch as the trend is obfuscated by movements between Merrill and Bank of America and Bank of America Securities. Instead, the graph below reflects the number of registered persons at the retail and corporate banking focused branch of the Bank of America business in London – an area that is clearly growing.