If you work on Wall Street and wonder why you’re having such a tough time finding a new job, we now have the answer. A new report reveals that revenues at the biggest investment banks dramatically dropped to their lowest levels since 2006. According to business intelligence firm Coalition, the revenues at 12 of the largest U.S. and European banks declined 11% over the first half of 2019.
A toxic cocktail of tepid growth, low interest rates, fears over trade wars, economic uncertainty and geopolitical tensions have hurt the banks’ revenue and profits. The usually impervious front office executives couldn’t escape this free fall and 1,500 senior-level jobs were cut by the banks. Client-facing, high-touch managers declined for the 10th consecutive year, declining from 56,700 to 50,400.
According to Coalition, everything looks bad. Fixed income, currencies, commodities, equities, investment banking, M&A advisory and capital markets all declined. Equities was the worst performer. The area will worsen as Deutsche Bank drops their equities business and will let go of even more staff. The shares of European banks have, on average, dropped by double-digits every year since 2016.
Wall Street And European banks axed 30,000 people this summer. The last few months have been devastating for people who work on Wall Street and banking—both in the U.S. and in Europe. Deutsche Bank downsized 18,000 employees. Citigroup let go hundreds of trading-related professionals. HSBC cut 4,000 people, Barclays laid off 3,000, Société Générale axed 1,600 jobs and Credit Suisse announced a hiring freeze.
If you’re seeking out a new job on Wall Street and are met with resistance, you now know why. In the face of layoffs, declines in revenue and profits and a worrisome future outlook, it’s no surprise that hiring will be challenging for the foreseeable future.
There are, however, some bright spots, according to recruiters. Ross Freeman, CEO of executive search firm 680 Partners, has partnered with private equity and venture capital firms to help grow their portfolio companies. While the traditional big Wall Street banks are experiencing challenges, Freeman said, “Private equity and venture capital firms are doing well.” In speaking of his observations, Freeman said he sees “a strong trend in the needs to staff private equity and venture capital-backed portfolio companies with top executive talent. These investment firms have capital to deploy, need to quickly scale their businesses and have a strong need for professionals.”
Bob Bernikow is a former Merrill Lynch executive who now runs a search firm specializing in placing sales professionals with financial-related companies. While our society sometimes looks askance at sales as a profession, Bernikow’s candidates are sharp, smart and polished people. They partner with top bank executives and deftly manag
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