It sounds like a fantasy, or at least a hangover from a distant past when dead banks like Lehman and Bear Stearns were vying to make their mark in London. But at least two up-and-coming international banks are in growth mode in the City.
Wells Fargo is hiring for its investment bank, said Stuart Wales, a recruiting manager in the bank's wholesale banking hiring team in the City. So is Russian bank VTB Capital.
"We're hiring across the board," said Wales, who declined to give specific numbers because he said the situation was "evolving rapidly." Wells Fargo currently doesn't have enough office space in London, Wales added, but this will soon be resolved.
Meanwhile, VTB Capital is also hiring in London and globally. The UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) register indicates that VTB increased its headcount of FSA approved people by 40% last year - or 40 people. Sue Maple, Global Head of Human Resources at VTB Capital, said the bank is continuing to develop its presence in Europe, Asia and North America. "The number of VTB Capital employees has increased by a hundred in comparison to last year. We continue to hire the best talent in our target markets and business areas focused on business development and needs," said Maple.
Growth at Wells Fargo in London is being driven by Joe Sapphire. Sapphire, a former chief operating officer and head of international banking at HSBC in Germany, was appointed the head of global banking for EMEA at Wells Fargo in January, with a remit to grow the global banking business throughout the region. Hires at Wells Fargo so far this year include Hans Rapp and Stafford Butt from Portigon, the investment management firm that emerged from West LB, Olivier Varon, a former director of conduit investment at BNP Paribas, and Daniel Pierce, a former vice president in cross asset fund sales for EMEA at Citigroup.
So far this year, VTB has recruited Marco Huber, a former director on Credit Suisse's emerging markets debt capital markets (DCM) team who was allegedly let go in August. Huber will be head of DCM in the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa region. The FSA Register shows that VTB has also hired Victoria Filimonova, a former equity salesperson from Renaissance Capital, plus several other staff who were not previously registered in London. VTB declined to comment on who it's hiring, but headhunters said the bank has been interviewing for European sales and trading roles.
Other non-leading investment banks have also been hiring. Standard Bank, for example, has picked up Matthew Oxley, a former emerging markets salesperson from UBS. Oxley confirmed to us that he's already in his new role. Canadian Bank CIBC has also picked up Eduardo Montero Larraz, an equity derivatives salesman from Nomura - something confirmed by his LinkedIn profile. Financial News reports that Jefferies has hired two new researchers for its banks team and recruiters say it's looking to add junior bank researchers too. Richard Taylor, head of equity research at Jefferies, declined to comment.
Headhunters warn against getting too excited about growth banks, however. "No one's really hiring much. It's all mumbo jumbo and the recruiters who work at places like CIBC, VTB and Wells Fargo are overwhelmed with calls from candidates and recruitment firms," said one. Wales confirmed that he's getting a lot of unsolicited approaches. "I probably get around 10-15 calls a day. We tell most people we can't help them," he said.