Aug 12, 2019

Investment bank job cuts are now a one-way street

Adair Turner, the former City regulator, once intimated that investment bankers were "Socially useless". For the younger bankers let go by HSBC, Barclays, Société Générale, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank since April, the answer may simpy be: wait. According to one vice-president of a US investment bank, writing anonymously for the website eFinancialCareers: "I've seen richer juniors . . . travel the world, come back and do a Masters and then go back into banking once some of their idealism has disappeared." Society might not have a use for an older and more cynical investment banker with an MBA and a suntan, but evidently the City or Wall Street might. A Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis analysis of US labour statistics has shown how the peaks are typically regained: in 2008, 55,000 people worked in investment banking and securities dealing in New York, and while it fell post-crisis to 44,000, it was back to 52,000 by spring 2019. This cycle must eventually turn, and low rates are not solely an investment bank problem - many of Deutsche's headline-grabbing job losses will be in retail and commercial operations, too.

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