Brexit has frozen the City of London’s recruitment market in most big banks and the upcoming U.S. election is another reason why Wall Street banks aren’t any more willing to hire, even after two upbeat quarters in a row.
So, the fact that a relatively small German bank is continuing its build-out in London and New York in spite of everything, is significant. Berenberg, which has been expanding aggressively for the past two years, says it has no plans to stop and will be looking to break on to Wall Street.
Berenberg is primarily interested in hiring research analysts – although it has also been recruiting sales and trading staff – and plans to increase its current 100-strong team of analysts covering 650 European stocks to 150 people in both the UK and the U.S.
The bank hopes to have a New York licence by the first quarter of next year, and will then start recruiting. “It will take three to four years, because you have to get the talent. You can’t just go out and hire 40 analysts,” Hendrik Riehmer, one of its general partners told the Financial Times.
Berenberg’s investment bank is small. It employs around 270 people in the City of London, and 330 globally. It helps, though, that the bank is extremely profitable and made a return on equity of 67.3% last year and Riehmer says it’s “over capitalised” and can always cuts bonuses it need be. It also helps that its UK CEO doesn’t view Brexit as a reason to step back from London.
“We want to be a top 10 global research firm, and you can only do that with a global product,” said Riehmer.
Separately, accents aren’t ‘cute’, the have the potential to derail your career. Voice coaches are the new thing to help soften your accent and come across as both legible and credible. In London investment banking this means being posh or adapting a transatlantic drawl. On Wall Street, anything ‘American’ is good.
“I have met people in law, accountancy and investment banking who are advised to listen to Radio 4 to sound professional.” Louise Ashley, a lecturer in human resource management and organisational behaviour at Royal Holloway, University of London told the FT.
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