After a mixed second quarter, banks are trimming rates desks

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2017 was a good year for banks' macro desks, with various banks making big hires across rates sales and trading in London and New York. Will 2018 be the year jobs are cut again? Not necessarily, but there's a definite trickle of staff who are leaving.

Deutsche Bank's decision to "significantly reduce" its U.S. rates business is well known. Nomura's decision to cut senior rates staff in its recent layoffs is also well known on the street, although less well-publicized. Now, we understand that UBS has also made some cuts to its rates team in NYC.

UBS declined to comment on the cuts, which are understood to have affected a handful of salespeople at executive director and director level in the Swiss bank.

In London, Nomura is understood to have put at risk Ceki Boz, an MD and head of rates options trading, Will Johnson, a gilt trader, and Bala Arumugam, a Euro government bond trader.

When U.S. banks reported their results this week, the verdict for rates desks was mixed. Goldman Sachs, for example, said that rates revenues were "modestly lower" compared to the first quarter as lower revenues in Europe were partially offset by sold performance in the U.S. market. Bank of America said improved performance across its macro products business (rates and FX) was offset by a weaker quarter for credit trading.

The fact that some banks had good quarters in rates trading means that people who've been laid off from their rates jobs should find it easy to get new ones. Headhunters say Nomura's traders have been interviewing elsewhere and that one already has a job, Paul Lynn, the EMEA head of macro sales who left Nomura in May has just turned up as head of financial institution sales at Credit Agricole in London, while Scott Friedlander, an MD in hedge fund sales at Nomura is understood to be joining a fintech firm.

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