While investment banks’ IT budgets are being increasingly gobbled up by regulatory projects, one area of the front office where technology remains a priority is the fixed income arena and (perhaps surprisingly) jobs are emerging in relatively voluminous numbers.
Goldman Sachs has unveiled its new corporate bond trading platform, GSessions, Morgan Stanley has been hiring programmers to develop a fixed income trading platform, Bond Pool, and now Royal Bank of Scotland has highlighted its plan for a “low cost, high volume, high speed” electronic platform in its fixed income division.
Our own figures suggest that fixed income currently accounts for 11% of all technology vacancies in the UK and that there’s a relative shortage of candidates, with just 8 people per available role with the relevant domain knowledge.
“We’re working on a couple of head of fixed income IT roles within some of the larger investment banks, and fixed income is accounting for the lion’s share of hands on development roles,” says Paul Bennie, director of IT in finance recruiters Bennie MacLean.
Most of the development roles require, rather obviously, a knowledge of the fixed income sector and relevant asset class within that, but the systems require a knowledge of both Java and C#, he suggests. These roles are also paying at the upper end of developer salaries, with £85-100k being offered for the right candidate.
There’s also a residual effect to all this of creating more tech roles in the back office, with clearing and pricing solutions also needed for these new front office platforms.
“Fixed income is the one area where investment banks are able to justify signing off on budget and headcount for front office IT projects,” says Andrew Keene, director of technology in finance recruiters Thomson Keene. “However, it’s also creating roles downstream, with OTC clearing and risk systems also a priority.”