The likelihood of losing your job in an investment bank is almost always high. Now it may be higher than it's ever been. If you lose your banking job in London, what are the chances that you'll find a new one again in the City?
Our research suggests they're not exactly high, but they could easily be a lot lower.
We've looked at the current whereabouts of 100 people who lost jobs in fixed income sales and trading last year (these were based on a list provided by search firm Nicholas Scott - now known as Cherry Bull.) Of these 100 people, only 40 have since re-registered with financial services employers in London. 12 months later, 60% have either left the country or are still looking. New employers include: Westpac, Unicredit, Citadel, CIBC, and Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi.
Similarly, we looked at the whereabouts of 50 people who've been let go from RBS since March - including many of the bank's former equity research team. Of these 50, 27 people or 56% had found new jobs. 44% remained out of the market. New employers include: Jefferies, Deutsche, Barclays, Citigroup, Exane, and SocGen.
Is it really that bad though? One leading equities headhunter tells us that as far as he's concerned almost all the front office RBS equities people who were let go in March have now found new roles. "I'd say that around 90% of the equities salespeople, traders and researchers who came out of RBS have been re-employed," he says. "They were taken up by Exane, Jefferies, RBC, Macquarie - across the street. Pretty much all of them have gone somewhere."
If you're let go now, he cautions that it will be very different though: "It's become much tougher."
Most of those who've been made redundant and found new jobs seem to have done so in established banks. This runs contrary to the myth that people can leave banking and move to a hedge fund or asset management firm. Some, like Ian Smillie (who's gone from RBS to Marshall Wace) migrate successfully. However, as a report from Morgan Stanley makes clear today, the buyside isn't growing either.
"A lot of sell side equity research analysts fancy themselves working in hedge funds or asset managers," says Zaki Ahmed at financial search. "But it can be a difficult move to make - funds aren't hiring actively and hedge funds tend to be a close-knit community that hires from among their own contact base."