Morning Coffee Aug 24 2012

I-Banking Headcount Continues to Tumble

By Beecher Tuttle

The world's largest investment banks have shed nearly 6% of their staff over the past year, cutting headcount by roughly 10,000 from June 2011 through June 2012, according to a Financial News analysis.

The report, which aggregated headcount numbers from UBS, Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan and Unicredit, along with estimates from Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, found that workforce reductions have become more prevalent in the last six months, compared to the second half of 2011.

Goldman Sachs, which recently reported its lowest first-half revenue in seven years, cut the greatest number of jobs, slicing headcount by nearly 10%, according to the report. Barclays, meanwhile, trimmed its staff by just over 1% during the 12-month period, making it the most stable investment bank of the eight companies assessed.

The beneficiary of industry-wide job cuts in North America and Europe may be Middle Eastern investment banks, like the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Qatar National Bank, which are poaching experienced i-bankers from the West who can't find work at home.

Claims on the Rise (MarketWatch)

Jobless claims increased again last week, rising an additional 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 372,000. The previous week's totals were also revised up to 368,000, roughly 2,000 more than previously reported.

Phoenix Rising (Reuters)

Howard Davies, former chairman of Britain's Financial Services Authority and the one-time deputy governor of the Bank of England, has been named the new chairman of British life insurer Phoenix, effective Oct. 1.

Executive Reorg (Financial News)

Paris-based LCH.Clearnet, an independent clearing house soon to be under the ownership of the London Stock Exchange, continued its hiring spree this week by tapping a new chief executive officer, Oliver Corbett, former finance director at insurance underwriter Novae Group.

Plural Investments to Shutter (FIN Alternatives)

New York hedge fund Plural Investments will return $440 million of capital to investors and close its doors at the end of September. Founder Matt Grossman, a former SAC Capital Advisors exec, told investors in a letter that he desires a "more flexible investment mandate than the one we have pursued since the launch of the funds."

Religare Refocusing at Home (Financial News)

India's Religare Capital Markets plans to shutter its U.K. investment banking unit and sell its newly created South African equities business, Religare Noah Capital Markets, to the group's current management.

Money Market Reform Shot Down (Reuters)

SEC Chair Mary Schapiro has lost her initial bid to impose new regulations aimed at stabilizing U.S. money market funds. Opponents believe the proposed rules would entice investors to pull their money from such funds.

Banks Clawing Back (The Telegraph)

Roughly 15% of global banks have reclaimed bonuses from executives in the last year due to gross negligence or generally poor performance.

Buzz Around the Office

When Not to Canoodle (Buzz Feed)

Here's another great reason to improve your vocabulary. It may prevent you from inadvertently propositioning your co-worker…on camera.

List of the Day: Performance Reviews

You've got to be an active participant to get the most out of your performance review.

1. Ask about areas where you need to improve, even if you get a glowing review.

2. Ensure that your role and objectives are clearly defined moving forward.

3. Agree to a timeline for raises, promotions and bonuses.

(Source: The Daily Muse)

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