JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are among the only big investment banks not engaged in big cost-cutting programmes right now. Both are still recruiting experienced front office M&A bankers, traders, researchers and strategists, with hiring seemingly focused on the US and London.
Goldman Sachs is currently advertising on its website around 30 front office investment banking jobs globally. J.P. Morgan is advertising a similar number. As usual, front office roles at each bank are far outweighed by advertisements for support staff to fill roles in technology, operations, compliance and risk. J.P. Morgan, for example, is advertising 260 jobs across its investment bank in total: only 12% of the jobs on its own site are for higher paid front office roles. At Goldman, just 8% of the investment banking jobs advertised on its website are in traditional front office areas. In November, Lloyd Blankfein pointed out that headcount at Goldman has been growing fastest in "high value locations" such as Salt Lake City and Mumbia, where back and middle office staff are typically based.
While Goldman regularly says it generates around 50% of its revenues outside the US, twenty of the thirty front office sales, trading and IBD jobs it's advertising currently are based in North America, suggesting an emphasis on Goldman's home market. Six are in EMEA. Just four are in Asia ex-Japan.
By comparison, J.. PMorgan's front office hiring appears more geographically adventurous. While Goldman is looking for structured finance analysts, fixed income strategists and investment banking associates in New York and for IBD strategists and analysts for its special situations group in London, J.P. Morgan is hiring in London and New York, but also in South America and South Africa.
Last April, it emerged that JPMorgan intended to double its headcount from 630 people in Brazil. The bank has recently said it's going after business from the Brazilian government and that Brazil is a market offering "terrific opportunities." J.P. Morgan is currently advertising 19 jobs in Brazil, seven of which are in the front office - all of which are admittedly internships. J.P. Morgan is also looking for an equities trading assistant in South Africa and for an investment banking credit analyst in Buenos Aires.
European targeted M&A volumes have been around $650bn in 2012 according to Dealogic, down around 18% on last year. Nevertheless, J.P. Morgan continues to hire experienced junior M&A talent in London. It's currently looking for an experienced associate and analyst for its industrials team and a Dutch speaking associate based in London. Separately, it's looking for a VP level equity researcher for its general financials team in London.
Traditionally, banks haven't advertised their front office roles on their own websites, preferring to use recruiters and headhunters instead. But as costs have been squeezed, there's been greater focus on hiring candidates directly. At our round table event for heads of recruitment in October, two smaller financial services organisations confessed to filling 70% of their vacancies through advertisements and without the help of external recruiters. The large banks in attendance were very keen to copy them.