Corporate brokers are being heavily hunted down

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Corporate broking isn't the kind of career you can suddenly swap into. Desirable corporate brokers tend to hold solid relationships with the companies they advise on stock market listings and the like.

This is unfortunate, as experienced corporate brokers are extraordinarily popular right now.

According to some headhunters, anyone and everyone is looking for corporate brokers. "It's a very hot market," says the director of one search boutique. "Everyone is hiring - BofA Merrill, UBS, Nomura, Goldman, Citi, Deutsche, BarCap, and Credit Suisse. Good people are very hard to find."

Enthusiasm for corporate brokers is already manifesting in recruitment. Deutsche has just hired two corporate brokers, from Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Cazenove. And Execution Noble hired a director of corporate broking from Oriel Securities in February.

The excitement around corporate brokers follows similar levels of animation last year, when rivals sought to capitalise on the perceived difficulties of UBS and BofA Merrill by pinching their staff and clients.

In reality, while UBS appears to have suffered in 2009 (BarCap managed to extract Jim Renwick to head its corporate broking business), BofA Merrill didn't. According to Hemscott, the US bank managed to rise up the corporate broking league table last year.

In place of UBS and BofA Merrill, current poaching efforts are focused on JPMorgan Cazenove, the UK's leading corporate broker. JPM Caz is going through a process of integration involving a small number of (mostly back office) job cuts. Although most senior corporate brokers at Cazenove are thought to be heavily locked in by previous equity awards, the defection of Matthew Lawrence to Deutsche suggest it is possible to prise people out.

However, although the corporate broking hiring market is hot, one headhunter says it's not that hot, and that some people let go last year are still out of the market even now. "As with all these things, the longer you're out the market, the harder it is to get back in again," says Mark Horlock at Marshall Warburton Executive Search.

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