Want to work for Brevan Howard? It looks quite unlikely in London

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The hiring is in Hong Kong

The hiring is in Hong Kong (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brevan Howard is hiring – in Hong Kong.  It’s just announced the appearance of David Adams, former head of rates trading at Morgan Stanley in Australia.   Not long ago, it hired Farouk Juma, a former prop trader at UBS in Singapore.

In London, meanwhile, enthusiasm for recruiting appears to have abated.  Last March, Nagi Kawkabani, co-chief operating officer, expressed its hope that Brevan was the, “employer of choice,” for macro traders fed up with working in investment banks.

We counted an additional 27 or so new FSA registered individuals joining the London office in 2011.

So far this year, however, the FSA register indicates there have been only two new additions to Brevan Howard London.  One of them, Luca Masiero, looks like the sort of highly quantitative Imperial graduate we’ve highlighted Brevan Howard as favouring in the past.

More worrying if you aspire to join Brevan Howard in Baker Street, is the long term trend. As the chart below (from information provider IMAS) shows, it is not  expansionary. Between April 2010 and April 2012, the number of FSA registered persons at Brevan Howard in London fell 30%. In April 2012 it had 86 people in London. In April 2010 it had 124.

FSA approved persons at Brevan Howard, London

The decline undoubtedly has something to do with the Swiss office opened by Brevan Howard in 2009,  which was managing 40% of the bank’s risk capital by 2011. Many former London-based staff are likely to have moved there.

Some may also have been let go. Brevan Howard’s most recent annual results (which are not recent but for the year ending March 2011) show an 80% decline in profitability between 2010 and 2011.

“They’ve moved a lot of their London people to Geneva,” says one hedge fund consultant, “and have got a far lower headcount here today than they had a few years ago.

“It’s a similar pattern at other funds,” he adds. “London operations are being run down and any new headcount is being added in Switzerland or Asia.”

Swiss hiring may yet prove fleeting: the Swiss government is making preparations to bring in its own punitive hedge fund rules.

In the meantime, anyone wishing to work for Brevan Howard in the West End is advised to approach them directly. None of the hedge fund recruiters we spoke to worked with them. “All their hiring is done word of mouth,” claimed one.