Has FX technology recruitment finally started to slow?

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There's a reason why, even in the face of falling revenues, most investment banks don't stop pouring money into (and recruiting for) their FX technology initiatives - they fall behind.

UBS was a case in point - it cut back its FX IT spending in 2008, and has been playing catch up ever since. The result of this ongoing investment has been a sustained peak in demand for technologists able to provide a competitive advantage to banks through FX IT.

The technology has evolved - it's not just about having a cutting edge e-Commerce platform, or ensuring the lowest latency - now banks are concerning themselves the electronification of FX derivatives, enhanced analytics like complex event processing and liquidity aggregation.

However, has demand for technologists finally started to wane a little? It would seem so.

"There's still a steady demand for technologists in FX, but they're no longer the darlings of the IT world," says Paul Bennie, director of IT in finance recruiters Bennie McLean. "It's become a more mature asset class, and people are being hired enhance banks' offerings, rather than for large Greenfield IT programmes."

To put this in perspective, there are still FX technology jobs - at BarCap, Citi, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, for example - but the rate at which they're emerging is slowing.

"It was only a couple of months ago that a good FX technologist putting themselves on the job market could expect a few offers and the chance to ratchet up their salary," says Bennie. "This has changed."

"Perhaps the FX arms race has slowed, but there are still a number of banks playing catch-up and rolling out some significant programmes, which is ensuring a decent demand for IT professionals," adds Ben Cowan, director at recruiters Astbury Marsden.

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