Five years ago this October, UBS took the decision to close down most of its fixed income sales and trading business and make around 10,000 people redundant. Now it looks like it might quietly tooling up again. And where better to tool up from than Goldman Sachs?
In the past few months alone, the Swiss bank has hired three senior salespeople from Goldman. The most recent exit is Peter Wilson, a London-based VP in macro FX sales who's thought to be joining UBS soon. In March, UBS recruited Ali Sanai, a former executive director in rates sales at Goldman in London and Aliza Raffel, a Goldman Sachs vice president in cross FX sales in New York.
The departures follow exit of Brian Kuritzky, a former senior VP on Goldman's U.S. cross asset macro rates sales desk in August last year. Kuritzky joined UBS in December - suggesting the Swiss bank paid a hefty premium to poach him before bonuses were paid.
The flow of Goldman macro salespeople to UBS suggests the Swiss bank is rebuilding its fixed income business to take advantage of resurgent revenues. Goldman's fixed income business struggled in the past two quarters, with the FX pulled out as an area of particular weakness. To make matters worse, the firm's salespeople are being asked to adopt a new longer term approach when they call clients, rather than going for an immediate result. The new system was said to be causing friction last year.
In light of this, UBS may look like a better bet. Artur Kuzma, another former Goldman FX salesperson joined the Swiss bank in 2012 (and survived), so the Goldman emigres at least have a friend.
The moves suggest Goldman may need to some additional hiring for its macro sales desks. Especially as UBS isn't the only one fishing for staff. In New York, Kristen Macleod, an MD in FX sales, is on gardening leave and understood to be joining Barclays. Meanwhile, insiders say that Paula Madoff, Goldman's head of North American rates and mortgage sales, is retiring, and that Thalia Chryssikou its head of EMEA rates sales is becoming co-head of global sales strats.
The flow of women out of Goldman's macro sales team means that the firm has lost some important female role models. Lora Robertson, a former global head of FX sales, also left last year.
Goldman Sachs didn't respond to a request to comment on the departures.