Nomura, Macquarie, and some French banks excepted, most banks have now announced their bonuses for 2017. Many are now turning their attention to a new issue: headcount. Cuts are coming; in some cases they have happened already.
Market insiders say both Citi and Credit Suisse are expected to make layoffs in their U.S. equities businesses later this week. Citi’s U.S equities business has already undergone big changes with the exit of Armando Diaz as global head of cash trading earlier this month. Diaz’s disappearance was accompanied by that of Sebastian Ridd, Citi’s former head of U.S. program trading and cash trading, who left for Millennium Management (also earlier this month) and of Young Kang, the head of electronic cash trading in the U.S. Revenues in Citi’s equities business fell 2% year-on-year in 2017 and 23% in the final quarter. Citi declined to comment. The bank has made various recent hires to its global equities business, including Christopher Pochart, who joined in New York in September from BNP Paribas.
Credit Suisse is rumoured to be making layoffs at its U.S. equities business later this week. The bank hired heavily in equities last year, but saw revenues decline 8% on 2016. Indrajit Bardhan, the bank’s former global head of prime brokerage, left the New York office to “pursue external opportunities” in March and further fallout is expected from his departure.
Credit Suisse has also been quietly making cuts in London. Nick Villiers, a director in the financial institutions group (FIG) debt capital markets team, and Julius Kirchner, head of FIG debt capital markets for German, Austria and Switzerland, were among those put at risk last month.
Meanwhile, after a year of frantic macro hiring, London banks are pruning their rates teams. UBS is said to have said goodbye to senior rates traders Tim Hawkins and Alan King. RBC is understood to have cut rates traders, including Andy Haig, whom it hired from Nomura in 2011 and Deutsche Bank is said to have cut more rates traders after parting company with Nick Gray and Matthew Eaton last month.
In the U.K., the law says that even if you’ve already been told your bonus for the previous year, you’re not entitled to receive it if you’re no longer in employment at the payment date.
The hope, as ever, is that this is simply a clearing of the decks ahead of “selective upgrading.” – “March firings mean April hirings,” says one headhunter on Wall Street.
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