What to do now if you were a victim of the M&A massacre at Nomura

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A mere flesh wound

A mere flesh wound. There is still (some) M&A hiring (Photo credit: gudmundur.bjarni)

There is a lot of blood on the floor at Nomura. As we reported yesterday, Nomura has let around 30% of its European investment bankers go. All but a few core sector teams (financial services, natural resources, industrial companies and private equity) have been cut back and we're told that "around half" of Nomura's large European TMT team of 15-20 people have been shown the door.

Nomura's unwanted are alleged to include people who joined in this year's analyst class. "I've heard of a guy who was literally there for a day and then had to leave," says one London M&A recruiter. They also include managing directors, experienced analysts, associates and mid-rankers. Basically: everyone.

Unfortunately, Nomura's redundant are limping out into a challenging market. As we reported a few weeks' ago, European M&A is at its lowest level since 2003 and is down 32% on last year. Nomura's not the only one making M&A bankers redundant: Deutsche, UBS and Bank of America are at it too and others are expected to follow. And this is an especially challenging time to look for a new job if you're an M&A analyst or associate - banks' 2012 trainees have only just arrived and none are in the mood for hiring additional juniors to add to these already bloated classes.

So, what do you do?

M&A headhunters tell us the more astute Nomura M&A bankers have been talking to them for weeks already, trying to line up alternatives. Some have been successful. "We've got quite a few Nomura people in hiring processes at the moment," says one M&A headhunter. "There's a mixture of banks and boutiques that are looking for the best people coming out of Nomura and Deutsche," he adds, "- There are jobs out there."

In the past year, junior M&A bankers leaving Nomura have got jobs at Arma Partners - an M&A advisor boutique, or at DC Advisory Partners - the former Close Brothers Business. Juniors are advised to focus on applying to boutiques rather than to large banks. "Most big banks have got a hiring freeze on - it doesn't matter if you're an analyst two or an associate," says Julia Tustian at recruitment firm Shepherd Little, "it's difficult to get a job full stop."

If you're an ex-Nomura M&A junior with less than a year's experience, recruiters advise that you're unlikely to get picked up elsewhere and should reapply to banks' analyst programmes. We have a list of application deadlines here. Be warned, however, that some banks appear to have filled their 2013 graduate M&A programmes already (Nomura, unsurprisingly, among them).

For more experienced juniors, recruiters say the likelihood of getting rehired will depend upon both skills and sector. "There's a bit of TMT hiring happening," says one, "and if you speak a European language it will help differentiate you from the masses - of whom there are masses...."

At a more senior level, Cantor has expressed an explicit interest in hiring senior M&A bankers coming out of big banks. However, it's said to be fussy. Evercore and Bank of Montreal may also be hiring and recruiters talk vaguely about "Asian banks" picking up good people in M&A.

"There are some good guys coming out of Nomura with some good deal experience," says one headhunter reassuringly. "People are definitely interested in them."


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