If Britain leaves the European Union, jobs at J.P. Morgan will be at risk. So will say Jamie Dimon when he speaks to J.P. Morgan’s 4,000 employees in Bournemouth sometime today. In fact, UK jobs at J.P. Morgan – and other banks – are already at risk. Banks are already shifting jobs to more appealing locations overseas. J.P. Morgan is locating some of its top technology jobs of the moment in Israel.
The most interesting large technology project at J.P. Morgan right now is probably ‘Athena.’ In the bank’s own words, Athena is its, ‘ next generation pricing, risk management, analysis and trade management platform,’ built 100% in house and programmed entirely in C++. In the past, J.P. Morgan might have located its core Athena programming jobs in Bournemouth or Glasgow. Instead, it appears to hiring core Athena programmers in Israel’s Tel Aviv.
The bank is currently advertising four positions for its Athena core team in Israel. One’s for a data developer. One’s for a C++ and python developer. One’s for programming tools developer. And one’s for an infrastructure tools developer. All are roles with a global impact and most require graduates from a “top tier math/engineering school.”
Four jobs may seem insignificant alongside the 4,000 people J.P. Morgan has in Bournemouth or the 1,200 technologists it has in Glasgow but it’s worth noting that the bank is currently hiring no one for Athena roles in Bournemouth and only three or four people for Athena-related roles in Glasgow, and these are support roles rather than core programming positions. – The core Athena programming positions are currently in Israel.
Credit Suisse is an indication of how quickly banks can shift jobs internationally. In 2007, the Swiss bank opened its ‘Centre of Excellence’ in Wroclaw Warsaw. At the time, the Swiss bank said its Warsaw centre would grow to accommodate 400 people. Today, it has 4,000. Credit Suisse just moved Angus Kidd, an MD and employee of 18 years, from Singapore to Wroclaw to oversee the Centre’s expansion as the Swiss bank aims to cut its London headcount by 30% – Brexit or not.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs is quietly bulking up its own new Warsaw-based technology unit. Although the U.S. bank denied it was building a tech unit in Warsaw when we made inquiries last year, it emerged in August that Goldman plans to hire “several hundred employees” in Warsaw over the next three years. Goldman’s Warsaw recruitment was initially focused on technology. Now, however, the bank is also advertising for derivatives operations, finance, and due diligence roles in Poland – jobs that would previously have been based in the City of London. Brexit is an issue, but offshoring is happening already.