These are dark times. Some say they’re the worst times ever – even though Anshu Jain suggested today that actually July and August weren’t too bad.
Nevertheless, you may be right to fear redundancy and to wonder what will happen in the event that the worst comes to pass. We’ve spoken to various headhunters in London. If you’re out of a job, here’s who they suggest might pick you up.
1. Australian banks
ANZ, National Australia Bank and Westpac are all hiring in London says one fixed income headhunter. “The Ozzie dollar is strong and the Australian banks are taking this opportunity to hire people cheaply,” he adds.
2. Small shops, small brokers, small boutiques, little start-ups, places you’ve never heard of
If you lose your job, you’re going to have to do some digging. Even though market share is consolidating in the bigger players, the bigger players aren’t really doing much recruiting – unless it involves recruiting people still employed at other big players.
This being the case, you’ll need to diversify. Research firm IMAS produces a monthly list of firms that have recently registered with the FSA (which we often comment upon).
“Broker-dealers and boutiques tend to like people who’ve been made redundant,” says another headhunter. “It gives them a chance to pick people up without having to pay a buyout.”
3. All sorts of distressed debt and credit hedge funds
Needless to say, you’ll need to have distressed debt and credit experience, but if you do, there seems to be quite a lot of hiring in the hedge fund space. A senior distressed banker at Deutsche is rumoured to be off to credit hedge fund Centerbridge Partners. Pimco is said to be hiring distressed debt professionals. Steve Zander from Bank of America recently went to Capula (although he appears to have resigned rather than been made redundant). Parker White, a VP in European credit trading at Deutsche went to Taconic Capital (again having resigned). Apollo Global Management, Marathon Asset Management, Butler Capital Partners, Triton Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts have all set up distressed funds.
Basically, if you work in distressed debt and get made redundant or simply want to leave, you have a lot of options.
4. Canadian banks
Canadian banks are also supposed to be hiring, although the numbers in London don’t exactly seem huge. RBC Capital Markets is currently advertising two associate positions. Neither TD Securities nor CIBC World Markets specify London job vacancies on their sites.
The four month rule
Separately, one London headhunter says his clients are generally quite interested in hearing from redundant people – as long as they haven’t been redundant for more than four months.
“We’re continuously being asked to find out who’s on the market and is a top performer,” he says. “Most banks have a preference for these people because there’s no buyout involved, but their preferred option is to pick people up within four months. At that time, they’re still fresh and know what they’re doing.”
Last time we looked, it was ok to be out of the market for six months. The acceptable interregnum seems to be shortening.