One swallow does not make a summer and one vice president leaving a tier one bank in London for a tier four bank back home does not amount to a post-Brexit exodus. In light of current events, it is - however - 'of note.'
Lars Schouw, a VP in quant research who spent the past six and a half years in London (after ten years in Japan), has returned to his native Denmark. Schouw's LinkedIn profile shows he left Bank of America Merrill Lynch's (BAML's) London office in August and arrived at Saxo Bank's Copenhagen office in September. Prior to BAML, Schouw spent four and a half years working for J.P. Morgan in London.
Why Saxo Bank? Why Copenhagen? Why now? Schouw didn't respond to our enquiries about his motivation. Maybe he just decided to take it easy at a local bank late in his career? Maybe he was inspired by sterling's 17% slide against the Danish krone over the past year? Or - given that he wrote a deeply pessimistic blog about the global economic outlook after Brexit - maybe he figures it was a good time to retreat to home ground?
Either way, Schouw joins the trickle of European nationals who are returning to their home countries. With banks in London cutting headcount and with the pound falling, the pace of departures is likely to increase. Earlier this year, Scandinavian banks like Nordea and SEB picked up fixed income staff who were leaving Morgan Stanley's London office and installed them in Copenhagen and Stockholm. Saxo bank seems to be doing the same. If you're a European bank opportunistically open to hiring people who want to repatriate from London, life just got a lot easier.