Wells Fargo is, in theory, the place to be. Earlier this month, Jamie Dimon said he was watching Wells Fargo closely as it “very aggressively, very actively…very successfully” builds its US investment bank. This week, Bloomberg followed up with a report that Wells Fargo is planning to build a credit default swap trading business two years after banks like Deutsche pulled out.
This side of the Atlantic, Wells Fargo Securities has certainly been hiring for its investment bank in London. Since it first declared its intention of expanding its European headcount in early 2013, FCA registered employees at the bank have gone from 83 to 136 – an increase of 64%. The expansion has not been without its hiccups, however – Joe Saffire, Wells Fargo’s man in Europe who was charged with overseeing the investment bank’s expansion quietly left for First Niagra Bank in 2014, and hiring seems to have petered out in the second half of 2015.
This isn’t to say that Wells in London is hiring no one at all. In the past three months, it’s picked up Damon Mahon, a fixed income syndicate professional who left RBS in December, and Zafer Bozdag, an FX trader from UBS. Most of the jobs currently advertised at the bank in London are for support functions, however, suggesting that the days of big front-office hiring are past. The other bad news is that Wells Fargo doesn’t seem to be a great payer in London – the last remuneration report for its international business (from 2014) suggests that “identified staff” at Wells Fargo Securities International earn an average of €240k (£185k/$263k) each, which isn’t much when you consider what other US investment banks are paying.
Weirdly, Wells Fargo International seems to pay more for support roles and corporate banking roles, wherein its identified staff earn averages of €318k and €630k respectively.