Paranoia strikes at Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s equity derivatives team in London as its people fear replacement by Morgan Stanley staff

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Equity derivatives are a growth area according to analysts at JPMorgan, who are predicting a 5% CAGR for revenues globally between 2011 and 2013. Nevertheless, equity derivatives teams are not immune to redundancies.

Bank of America has purportedly been clearing out its London ED business as part of the headcount cull we mentioned yesterday. 

Emmanuel Girod, the London-based global head of equity linked products is understood to have gone, along with members of his team.  BAML hasn’t confirmed his departure, but when we called there was no one answering his phone. “The mood is very somber,” claims one headhunter. “Everyone is expecting deeper cuts in April.”

The equity derivatives paranoia at BAML is said to be directed at the particular possibility that Fabrizio Gallo, who joined as co-head of EMEA equities last May, will hire people from Morgan Stanley – where he spent 15 years before going to Brevan Howard. Gallo has already recruited Michel Sindelar and Cyrille Walter from Morgan Stanley and is rumoured to want to clear the BAML decks in order to bring in many more former Morgan Stanley colleagues.

What can you do if you lose your job in equity derivatives? Not much. Despite the forecast growth and claims that corporate equity derivatives are hot, recruiters say there’s no hiring.

“Senior people are just going to have to sit out,” says one equity derivatives headhunter. “Or, they could try Canadian banks like RBC, “ he suggests, hopefully.

“Everyone’s talking about hiring at boutiques and private equity funds,” says another equity derivatives search consultant. “There’s a feeling that funds should be hiring corporate equity derivatives professionals as advisors, but I haven’t seen it, frankly.”









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