If you’re casting around looking for a horror story concerning what might happen to equities jobs after MiFID II or what becomes of employees in a merger or a simple case of extreme cost cutting, you could always look at Cantor Fitzgerald in London. Without anyone really noticing, it seems to have lost a large chunk of its registered staff.
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register reveals the extent of the exodus. At its peak in December 2015, Cantor had 149 FCA registered staff. Now it has 113, a decline of 24% in under two years.
Cantor insiders say the equities business, which was bolstered by the acquisition of Seymour Pierce in 2013 has been particularly affected, with equity sales and research bearing the brunt of the exits, many of which began in the middle of last year.
More recent departures include: Craig Francis, a former associate director in corporate finance, who left for Australia’s Genex Power earlier this month; Julien Adam, an equity sales trader who left for Moneta Asset Management in France in July; Phillip Bloch, a credit salesman who left for SocGen in August; Paul Taylor, a former director in healthcare research, who left for the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in July; and David Banks, the former head of corporate broking who left to become chairman of a graphene company in Swansea in July.
Emily Ashford, a director in oil and gas research, left for Standard Chartered in January and Ian Osburn, a director in materials and property research left for Berenberg in the same month. Both Philip Dixon, Cantor’s EMEA COO and Richard Hickinbotham, its head of research, quit quietly last Christmas.
A spokesman for Cantor Fitzgerald in Europe said: “Cantor Fitzgerald Europe is part of a major group that employs over 12,000 people worldwide. We have diversified the business in London and have hired significantly in the past two years. We are continuing to upgrade our business, and have well-resourced teams across debt, equities and market-making.”
The most recent accounts for Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, released in June and covering the year to 31st December 2016, show the business making a $4.2m profit, up from $1.4m a year earlier.
The exits follow Cantor’s efforts to build out its London equity research business five years ago, supplemented by Seymour Pierce. Thanks to MiFID II, that now looks poorly timed.