One month into 2015, and US investment banks have been hiring. Based upon their registrations with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), they've been hiring quite a lot - especially J.P. Morgan, which registered 30 people with the FCA in January. Some of these registrations are people who were hired last year and have only just been logged with the regulator. Many are the sorts of exceptional people who keep cropping up nowadays whenever we look at who banks have been taking on.
Listed below are the are the most impressive, curious and interesting people we came across in this year's cohort of hires. As usual, they're all academically excellent. Notably, some of them have worked in accounting - suggesting banks are raiding the Big Four for their junior hires. One has even been a male model and soap star.
1. Comfort Emmanuel. Joined Goldman Sachs as a securities analyst
Comfort is exceptional by the virtue of the fact that she's an Afro-Caribbean woman in banking. This is a rare enough combination to merit a mention, but Comfort also has 9As and 3A*s at GCSE. She attended the University of Birmingham, which isn't Goldman's traditional hiring ground, and joined Goldman as an analyst in July 2014 after a summer internship the previous year.
Comfort shows that you don't have to go to Oxford, Cambridge or the London School of Economics to get a job at Goldman Sachs.
2. Nithin Mathew. Joined Goldman Sachs as an analyst in fixed income derivatives
Nithin fits the common profile of many of Goldman's junior hires: he studied in both the UK and the US and has worked on both sides of the Atlantic. He read economics at NYU stern and graduated cum laude before moving to Oxford University, where he studied a masters in economics and graduated with a distinction. Nithin joined Goldman in October 2014 after spending a year working for Cutfield and Freeman, a corporate finance firm that specializes in mining. Before that, he spent nearly three years at Aksia, a hedge fund advisory firm, where he worked in New York and then London.
Nithin confirms that Goldman likes international profiles. He also indicates that you don't have to do an MBA if you want to get into Goldman when you have prior experience. Nor do you need to come from another big name investment bank.
3. Victoria Chapelow. Joined Morgan Stanley as a socially responsible investing (SRI) analyst
Victoria is proof that you can work in banking with a masters in environmental technology, as long you go into socially responsible investing.
A graduate of Leeds University, she left university and spent a year working for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society as a sales and marketing assistant. She then joined PWC as a senior associate and spent nearly five years in the assurance team.
Having quit PWC in 2013 (seemingly to pursue a Masters in environmental technology at Imperial College), Chapelow joined Morgan Stanley full time in October 2014. She completed a four month equity research internship at the bank whilst writing a thesis on socially responsible investing.
Victoria shows that you can work in banking and care for the environment. You can also use a banking internship to inform your university thesis (and get a job at the end of it.)
4. Thomas Richards. Joined Morgan Stanley as an executive director on the FX exotics desk
Thomas is the most experienced in our cohort of recently registered hires. A Cambridge maths graduate who, "achieved a first in every year," he joined Morgan Stanley from Credit Suisse in January 2015. Prior to that he worked for Credit Suisse (four years) and RBS (eight years.)
Thomas is proof that there is life after RBS. He is also proof that banks are busy hiring experienced FX traders - possibly in the hope that this year's volatility translates to higher flows than in 2014.
5. Charlie Webb. Joined Morgan Stanley as an equity research associate
Charlie is further confirmation that you don't need to take an MBA if you want to move into banking a few years after leaving university. He's also proof that banks are hiring from the Big Four.
An Oxford graduate, Webb spent three and a half years in EY's assurance team after leaving university. He joined Morgan Stanley's equity research business in January 2015.
6. Kiran Karia. Joined J.P. Morgan as vice president in financial institutions group (FIG) debt capital markets (DCM)
Kiran is of interest because his arrival suggests that J.P. Morgan might be rebuilding its FIG DCM team after cutting it back last year. His career to date also demonstrates the art of moving from one job to another after starting out (again) at the Big Four.
An LSE graduate, Karia spent three years in EY's corporate finance division after leaving university. He then joined Nomura's FIG DCM team, where he spent nearly four years before switching to Morgan Stanley's FIG DCM team for 19 months and then hopping across to JPMorgan.
Karia confirms (again) that the Big Four is as good a grounding as any for a career in investment banking.
7. Diogo Conceição
Diogo is an actor who held a principal part in the Portuguese "Morangos com Açúcar". He is also a model with Elite Model Management. And he is an associate in M&A at JPMorgan.
Diogo got his first job in banking after completing a Masters Degree in International Business at the University of Singapore. Thereafter, he spent three years in M&A at HSBC, and six months in M&A at Barclays before joining JPMorgan in December.
Diogo shows that good looks are no obstacle in a banking career. He also suggests that you shouldn't really worry if you only spend six months in your second banking job before moving swiftly on to whatever's coming next.