Regulation, MIFID II, automation, AI, bitcoin and Trump tweets were the themes circulating in the markets last year. 2017 began with a new US president and administration that had the business wondering what would be in store for markets.
Still struggling with a low-volatility environment, underperforming clients and lower volumes, the foreign exchange market had a lackluster year. However, there were forces at play that improved hiring activity significantly including European banks looking to reposition themselves, large US banks rebuilding trading teams and a few new initiatives. While recruiting was seen across the board, we witnessed an uptick in senior-level hires after a long stretch where firms had been investing exclusively on building junior talent, an unusual amount of activity in corporate sales and a flurry of moves into FX spot and options trading roles as banks sought to position themselves for smart risk taking driven by a perceived softening of regulatory constraints. Also of note, several traders who had left Wall Street for the buyside after the crisis have made their way back.
We remain optimistic for recruiting activity to continue at a good pace into the new year as shifting agendas require upgrading talent. Candidates are interested in the rebuilding and growth stories that are coming out of several platforms, while the status quo isn’t as appealing as it used to be.
Compensation season is underway and many will be glad when it is behind us as bonus pools are lower by 10-20% this year. It seems a disappointing 4th quarter took its toll on revenues and put a damper on variable compensation. MD’s and desk heads are taking the hit so that management can pay up-and-coming juniors and the top producers with an eye on talent retention.
Download the full report: Artemis Consulting 2017 Moves and Commentary