After its parent company’s collapse, MF Global’s Asian entities have begun to unwind trades and sell assets. There have been reports that these local units -including those in Singapore and Hong Kong – may be attractive acquisitions for buyers looking to expand in the region.
However, employees at the failed brokerage in Asia aren’t taking any chances. We hear staff have already started to send out their CVs and ring up their recruiter contacts.
An anonymous headhunter based in Hong Kong told us grimly: “The most likely outcome is redundancies across the board”. He adds: “The chances of the Hong Kong office getting over this is pretty slim, everyone’s just panicking.”
Another source who declined to be named, reckons those in equities may find the job search especially tough as there’s not a huge hiring appetite in the current market. MF Global made several hires in Asian equities only fairly recently. This includes Peter Wells who came on board in Hong Kong earlier this year as Asia-Pacific head of equity trading. The brokerage set up its first Greater China equities research, sales and trading team within the last 12 months.
Employees on the broking side could find the search slightly less challenging. Our source says: “Certain individuals or teams who come with established P&L may be able to plug and play elsewhere.”
Yet another headhunter reckons that it’s the mid-level talent, VP level or middle management who will find it (slightly) easier to get hired in the current market than the MDs or very junior staff.
If layoffs do happen, a recruiter has this advice for staff. “It’s a difficult market right now, hold on tight till Q1, where there may be more hiring opportunities. In the meantime, take a break or perhaps consider opportunities outside of banking.”