Equity Derivatives Hiring Slows in London

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Is this the party coming to an end for equity derivatives professionals?

Following a frenetic first half, one recruiter says hiring in the sector is starting to fizzle out, and not just because of a traditional summer break.

"Most equity derivatives recruitment in London has now been done," says Andrew Littlestone, a consultant at search firm Kinsey Allen in London. "Going forward, there are still a few houses who will be hiring, but it won't be nearly as aggressive as it was in the first six months." The majority of the new hires, he believes, will be to replace staffers poached by other firms.

Between January and June, banks including Wachovia, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch added equity derivatives talent. The cost of doing so was reputedly considerable, with some senior individuals said to have moved on guarantees double their previous earnings.

Equity derivatives pros who didn't cash in on the shopping spree may come to regret it. Jean-Pierre Mustier, chief executive of Socíeté Générale's corporate and investment bank, is quoted in today's Financial Times as saying growth in the industry is set to slow. "Maybe not next year, maybe not in two years, but it's much more likely that in five years our industry will grow more at the rate of worldwide GDP growth than the double-digit rates we have seen in the past 15 years," he said.

To help deal with the coming downturn, Socíeté Générale is building up its debt business, the FT says. The bank reputedly plans to add 750 staff this year.