This is not an easy time in financial services. But is it the worst time ever? Apparently, yes.
The Financial Times has spoken to a 'senior advisory banker,' who says the market has, "never been as bad as this." Financial News has spoken to David Knox, CEO of Oriel Securities, who says market conditions are the most challenging they've been for 25 years, that it's really tough and that, "average daily trading volumes in the UK over the past four years have been as low as we’ve seen for many, and just in the past six weeks alone they’ve fallen significantly again, so 2012 in terms of active UK equity trading will be as low as we’ve seen in the last decade."
In the circumstances, the litany of redundancies is hardly surprising.
The Times today says Nomura will actually be cutting 400 (as opposed to our hoped-for 250) of its 3,000 jobs in London. The Financial Times says the time has come for banks to make wholesale withdrawals from some business areas and quotes a senior headhunter who thinks M&A and capital markets teams will be trimmed by 20% this year.
Big redundancies may be looming for Morgan Stanley's fixed income business. Fox News reported yesterday that Morgan Stanley's fixed income professionals aren't expecting a complete exit of the business, but are expecting a radical downsizing. This may explain why - strangely at this point in the year - three of Morgan Stanley's European gas traders are moving to Mercuria.
Nevertheless, there is hope - for equities people. Financial News also brings news of a new entrant. MainFirst, a 'German financial group' has apparently been hiring a 'string of equities professionals,' including James Rose, once a London-based European sales head at Unicredit's defunct equities business.