Bank of America Securities and UBS hired more managing directors (MDs) in corporate finance than any other firm as U.S. recruitment activity in 2019 ended near record levels.
While most other firms’ hiring was flat to down, these two banks embarked on a U.S. hiring spree. Julian Bell, Managing Partner at Sheffield Haworth in New York said: “While hiring was down quite sharply in Europe and Asia, in the U.S. there continues to be an extremely competitive struggle for who has the best people, with a handful of firms showing a particularly keen appetite. Overall levels of MD-level hiring in the U.S. were almost on a par with the record year we saw in 2018.”
BofA’s hiring spree has been well-documented and followed the appointment last year of Matthew Koder to run corporate and investment banking. Koder has instigated an aggressive recruitment drive in order to win market share in M&A, and around 30 of the 50 managing directors the bank has hired have joined in the U.S.. In particular, the bank has been building out its mid-market M&A capability with the creation of its emerging growth and regional coverage. In July, the bank hired Sam Kumar to lead the business alongside Brendan Hanley.
And few would bet against BofA’s hiring spree stopping there. “Matthew’s a highly competitive data-driven guy who will be looking how the bank stacks up against JP Morgan on every product and sector and looking to bridge the market share divide,” said one banking source.
On that basis, two sector teams he could be looking to strengthen are industrials and healthcare, where BofA ranked outside the top 10 by M&A fees, and where JPMorgan occupied third spot in the first nine months of the year, according to Dealogic. But otherwise Koder can reflect a on a job well done – BofA enjoys a top four ranking in all other sectors in U.S. M&A, overtaking JPMorgan in energy and resources, FIG and media communications and entertainment M&A in the year to September 30. BofA declined to comment .
UBS has been another very active recruiter as its beefed up its US operations and appointed new leadership following the appointment of Rob Karofsky and Piero Novelli to co-run the investment bank. UBS formed a plan under previous investment bank boss Andrea Orcel to double the number of its client facing bankers and it has backed this up with investment. The Swiss bank has hired more than a dozen managing directors in the U.S. and it is looking to attract more in 2020, a goal that bankers say will be easier now that U.S.-based Ros Stephenson is co-running the revamped global banking business.
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