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Foreign Exchange

FX people moves: Time for a new job

Simon Head, head of FX and fixed income at recruitment company CorrelateSearch, shared with theweeklyFiX some of the findings of his survey of hiring patterns during 2010.

According to Head’s data 2010 saw the greatest amount of hiring since 2006; while Head does not claim to have captured data on every FX-related hire that occurred, the 272 moves recorded far exceeds the 192 moves recorded in 2009 and the 202 in 2008. As Head says, this reflects, “banks’ desire to invest in the FX market as a product class which continues to grow and assume more significance.”

Unsurprisingly the bulk of hiring, 57%, was in sales, with 17% in trading and the remainder split quite evenly between strategy, structuring, e-commerce and senior management hires.

There was a renewed focus on corporate salespeople. In 2009, when corporates were keeping their hedging as simple as possible, recruitment was equally moribund and represented a mere 7% of sales hires. Last year however, as confidence returned and hedging behaviour normalized, 23% of sales hires were made for the corporate sector. Head says: “Corporate sales saw considerable growth last year, reflecting increased usage of derivative products by customers who have shown increased activity levels in currency hedging and structured trades.”

In trading, spot hires continued at 35% of the total, exactly as they were in the preceding two years and option hires were 37% of the total as they had also been in 2009. Forward traders don’t appear to move around much, representing only 6% of total moves. This is likely due to many banks enveloping forward FX into fixed income. The most interesting statistic to be pulled out of the trading hire data is for proprietary traders. In 2009, this was still seen as a growth area but Volker has put paid to that. Prop trading hires declined from 19% of sales hires in 2009 to only 4% in 2010.

Finally, in terms of which banks are doing the hiring, the top eight hirers contained four banks out of the top five in Euromoney’s 2010 survey (Citi, UBS, Deutsche, RBS), three looking to meaningfully break into the top 10 (Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas and Bank of America Merrill Lynch) and one outside nag trying to become a thoroughbred – that old dark horse, Lloyds again.

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