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How safe is your banking job? This is where big banks need to cut costs

Banking layoffs

Are you going to lose your job before bonuses are paid? This clearly depends how well you performed. It also depends upon the degree to which the bank you work for is overweight in your division.

Whilst we can’t speak for the former, we can give you an idea of the latter. Tricumen, the banking intelligence firm, has just released a new set of charts based upon its own research into productivity per head. They reveal where each bank needs to trim some fat. They also suggest that some divisions in some banks are a lot less efficient than others.

1. You DON’T want to work for the investment banking divisions (IBD) of UBS and Deutsche Bank. You DO want to work in IBD for Goldman Sachs

Tricumen’s research suggests that UBS and Deutsche Bank have too many people working in their investment banking divisions (equity capital markets, debt capital markets, M&A and securitization). At both banks, revenues earned per head are well below the market average. By comparison, Tricumen suggests investment bankers at Goldman Sachs excel at revenue generation. If you’re looking for job security, Goldman looks like the better bet.

Operating revenue/front office headcount in IBD, 2017


Tricument IBD headcount


2. You don’t want to work in fixed income, currencies and commodities for a Swiss bank. You do want to work for RBS or Citi

In fixed income currencies and commodities (FICC), Tricumen suggests Swiss banks are the great under-performers. Fixed income traders at both UBS and Credit Suisse generate extremely low revenues per head (despite UBS chopping huge swathes of fixed income traders from 2012). By comparison, Morgan Stanley’s fixed income traders are averagely productive (despite Morgan Stanley chopping 25% of fixed income traders in 2015), as are Goldman Sachs’.

The safest fixed income jobs are not where you’d expect. Tricumen’s research suggests the most productive fixed income traders are to be found at RBS. RBS has also made heavy job cuts in the past five years, but has a reputation for employing excellent macro traders, whose revenue-generation appears exceptional. Similarly, Citi’s more credit-focused fixed income traders more than earn their keep.

Operating revenue/front office headcount in FICC, 2017

Tricumen FICC 2017


3. You want to work in equities sales and trading for Morgan Stanley, for J.P. Morgan or for Goldman Sachs. Avoid Citi, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank 

If Citi’s fixed income traders are exceptionally productive, the same cannot be said for Citi’s equities traders. During the bank’s third quarter call, Citi CFO John Gerspach told investors he was happy with the 30% combined year-on-year uplift in equities sales and trading and equities capital markets revenues.  However, the chart below suggests that after several years of hiring Citi’s equities professionals still need to generate a lot more in revenues to justify their existence. Along with rivals at Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, they’re exceptionally unproductive.

By comparison, equities traders at Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and Goldman generate revenues per head that are far above the peer group average. If you’re looking for a secure job in equities, these look like the best places to be.

Operating revenue/front office headcount in equities, 2017

Tricumen equities
















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