If you're a believer in the concept of "juniorisation", then you'll want to be a vice president (VP) for an investment bank in London. After all, the juniorisation meme goes something like this: banks are dumping senior staff (managing directors) and promoting mid-ranking staff (vice presidents) to replace them. Take Citigroup. Take Goldman Sachs. Managing directors (and above) are out; vice presidents are in.
Not all VPs are equal, however. At Goldman Sachs there are around 12,000 VPs and only a few hundred of them get promoted to MD biannually. Goldman Sachs calls people VP, "mainly to reassure clients that the awfully young-looking person running their merger is a senior executive," says BloombergView's Matt Levine - himself a former Goldman VP. It's a big title for what can be a smallish job.
Nonetheless, some VPs are very senior, experienced, and are in charge of large numbers of people. Researching this article, we came across people who'd been VPs in the investment banking division of J.P. Morgan for nine years, in the technology division of Goldman Sachs for eleven years, and in the HR division of Goldman Sachs for around 17 years. In some cases, VP is a comfortable enough place to spend the entire rest-of-your-career-in-finance.
Other times, however, VP is merely a milestone on the route to bigger and better things. Below we've listed 10 of the VPs in investment banks in London who appear destined for greater glory. Most, but not all, are in the front office. Most, but not all, were only made VP in the recent round of promotions. All have some sort of defining feature. Let us know in the comments box at the bottom of this page if you think we've missed anyone special off the list.
When you work in the markets division of an investment bank, the 'standard' route to vice president (three years as analyst, three years as associate) can be truncated. Even so, Craig Ashby's ascension at Citigroup looks unusually fast. Ashby joined Citi as an analyst-level mid-cap equities trader in June 2011. He was promoted to VP this January. That's analyst to VP in four and a half years, which is impressive however you look at it.
Most of the VPs on this list have risen through the ranks by staying with one firm and keeping their head down. This doesn't apply to Marcel Gremlich, a VP in FX sales at Credit Suisse. Gremlich, who speaks German and English fluently, did his analyst years at UBS and switched to Credit Suisse as an associate. Credit Suisse promoted him to VP after two and a half years this January. This is despite the bank making cuts to its fixed income trading business.
Arman Sahovic is an example of a VP whose title is more than a mere formality. He joined Credit Suisse as an AVP in March 2015, despite having previously worked only briefly in banking - as a summer analyst at Deutsche Bank in 2007. Sahovic's intervening years were spent as a PhD student and researcher at London's Imperial College. At Credit Suisse he's charged with validating the bank's risk models in algorithmic trading.
In most cases, MBA students who move into investment banking join as associates. Kamil Burganov, however, seems to have been fast-tracked at J.P. Morgan.
An alumnus of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Burganov graduated with a high distinction in economics. He first worked for J.P. Morgan in 2007, when he spent nearly three years at the bank as analyst on the European energy team.
Burganov left finance to study an MBA at Wharton Business School in 2012 before returning to J.P. Morgan as a senior associate in September 2014. Just one and a half years later , he was promoted to VP this February.
Katerina Hunt has a first class degree in Informatics from the University of Kosice in the Slovak Republic and a distinction in a masters in advanced methods of computer science from Queen Mary University London. She spent a year as a lead software developer at Serco before joining Goldman Sachs in mid-2013. She was then promoted from analyst to associate in one and a half years and from associate to VP in another one year and four months (in December 2015). If you're good at your job in Goldman's technology team, you can clearly get promoted very fast indeed.
Like Marcel Gremlich, Bouchy has swapped firms during his comparatively short career in banking. He did his analyst years on a trading desk at UBS before switching to Goldman in September 2014. After just a year and a half at Goldman, Bouchy was promoted to VP in December 2015. He's a structured products trader at the firm, has passed CFA Levels I and II and can code in VBA, Scilab, Matlab, R, and C++, among other languages. He's studied machine learning and has an MSc in financial economics from Oxford's Said Business School.
For someone with a comparatively short career in banking, Arsène has been around. He first joined J.P. Morgan in 2008, when he was an analyst in the consumer, retail and healthcare team. In 2010, he left JPM and moved to Tokyo with Lazard, where he spent two years as an associate on cross-border pharma transactions. In 2014, he moved back to J.P. Morgan (in London) and was promoted to vice president less than a year later. Unusually global for a mid-ranking banker, Arsène has already studied or worked in France, the UK, Singapore, New York, London and Tokyo.
With oil prices low, energy investment banking isn't the ideal sector to be working in right now. Even so, Citi seems to have marked Karaolis for big things, Promoted to VP in January 2016, he was one of few candidates sponsored by the bank to study an MBA at the London Business School in 2011. Returning as an associate in 2012, Karaolis worked on several major deals involving Russian oil firm Rosneft. The sanctions applied to Rosneft in 2015 don't appear to have stymied Karaolis's progress.
Schweigl, who works out of London and Milan, was promoted to VP at Deutsche Bank this time last year. Fluent in English, Italian and German, he's a graduate from Bocconi University in Milan and has an EMBA from Columbia Business School. Schweigl started his career at Deutsche as an analyst in 2007 and was promoted to a VP within seven years, which is in itself fairly standard for high performers. He's differentiated by the sheer number and diversity of deals he's been involved in across Europe - including rights issues for UniCredit, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, and Anheuser Busch InBev, and IPOs for Kabel Deutschland and Sunrise Communications. He's also worked as an adviser to the UK Treasury.
Rodrigues, who's worked for Greenhill since 2010 after graduating from the University of Oxford in 2009 and travelling for a year, was one of eight VPs promoted at Greenhill globally. Often used by the firm to promote itself to graduates, Rodrigues' most significant deal during his associate years was Teva Pharma's $40bn acquisition of Allergan Generics, announced last summer.