Here's who's hiring now in M&A and equities

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The start of February has coincided with some good news if you're looking for jobs in M&A or equities sales: two firms have indicated that they intend to add headcount. And they are...

1. Citigroup: wants 10 senior M&A bankers  

It's been a while since an investment bank stuck its head above the parapet and said it wants to hire a lot of senior M&A bankers in Europe. Andrea Orcel is thought to be hiring over at UBS, and has said he's engaged in a five year plan which will involve the arrival of new staff, but no numbers have been given. Citigroup, however, is being a little more definite.

The Financial Times reports today that Citi has hired Luigi de Vecchi, a former Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs banker as chairman for corporate and investment banking in continental Europe. Citi also wants to hire 'up to ten' senior bankers, says the FT.

The bad news is that FT says Citi is simultaneously centralising its investment banking operations in London and that from now on corporate bankers will act as the main sales force in secondary markets and will bring in investment banking advice from London 'as needed.' This would seem to imply that Citi will be cutting investment bankers in Paris, Germany, Milan and elsewhere.

Citi didn't return a request for comment. Headhunters in London said there's no sign of any M&A hiring at Citi yet. The US bank was last said to be on an M&A recruitment drive at the start of 2011, after a lot of its bankers left in 2010.

2. Knight Capital: wants equities salespeople in Europe

Back from its near death experience last August and having announced its merger with Getco in December, Knight Capital has got a new European chief executive and is interested in hiring new staff.

Albert Maasland, European chief executive at Knight, told us he wants to hire equities salespeople with, "very deep relationships, who are as comfortable selling in a low touch as in a high touch world."

Maasland was not specific on the number of people he intends to hire. "I don't have any specific number of empty seats. We're simply looking for people with relationships and for coverage people who can work with clients in Germany and Southern European countries like Italy and Spain particularly."

The equities market is changing, said Maasland, and it's not always easy for Knight to find the right kind of entrepreneurial staff.  "There are a lot of people coming out of the bulge bracket banks who are used to having all the services they need around them. We want people who have trusted client relationships and are used to making things happen themselves."

Blackstone is NOT hiring ECM bankers

Separately, the Financial Times reports today that Blackstone, the private equity house, has secured an underwriting licence. Blackstone already has a corporate finance capability, so will it now be hiring some ECM bankers too? Apparently not. "We will not be adding headcount," a spokesman told us.


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