After a strong start to the year, bonus prospects for equity capital markets professionals have taken a distinct turn for the worse.
In the interlude since last Thursday, the world's leading equity markets have undergone something of a battering, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the FTSE 100 and regional markets in Latin America and Hungary all falling significantly.
In the wake of the reductions, recruiters say bonuses for equity capital markets professionals are suddenly looking less promsing than they might have been. "It was looking like an extremely good year for ECM bonuses," says David Carrier, a director at search firm Kinsey Allen. "Now that's a little less certain."
"It's obviously very early days, but the primary markets people are most likely to suffer from recent market weakness and the potential downturn ," adds Simon Vaughan Edwards, a director at search firm Alexander Mann Global Markets. "Until now, business performance and subsequent hiring has been up. But sentiment could be about to change."
Recruiters say falling stock markets could now dampen enthusiasm for equity offerings - and the bankers who arrange them - particularly as many observes suggest this is more than just a passing trend.
However, recruiters say recent weaknesses have yet to stifle ECM recruitment. "Demand for ECM people remains very strong, particularly at the junior level," says Carrier. "Banks are still looking to make key ECM hires for the remainder of this year."