Europe is still a beacon for investment bankers

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If you work in investment banking in Europe, next year supposedly heralds the arrival of yet more turmoil. Deutsche Bank analysts are predicting 6,000 more job cuts in the front office globally next year – but particularly in European banks – and Bloomberg’s survey of investment banking recruiters in London expects another 5% to be trimmed off trading and advisory headcount.

And yet, for investment bankers outside of the region, the bright lights of London still glimmer enough to attract them like a moth to the flame. At least that’s the conclusion of a ‘relocation motivations’ survey by recruiters Selby Jennings, which suggests nearly 40% of sales, trading and advisory professionals are ‘actively’ looking to move, with London the most popular destination – all for the promise of a bigger pay packet. Meanwhile 46.5% said they are ‘likely’ to relocate.

It surveyed over 1,100 financial services professionals globally, and nearly 40% of those working in sales and trading said they were “actively looking to relocate”, with 32% listing Europe (particularly London) as the most attractive destination. What’s more, as the chart below shows, over 50% would expect a salary increase of over 20% for a move. This is despite the fact that investment banks have been cracking down on compensation.


This London love-in is also present within the advisory space. Nearly 47% of capital markets and private equity professionals it polled said that they were actively looking to relocate and, again, Europe was the location of choice. Salary expectations were still high – with 38.6% saying they’d expect an 11-20% uplift for a move and 33.3% demanding more than 20%.

Deluded pay expectations aside, why do so many traders and bankers still view the contracting job market in London as an attractive option? The simple answer is career progression – around 60% of respondents said their main motivation to move was to gain a promotion, get more exposure to larger deals or access a broader array of career opportunities.

Despite the battering it’s taken over the past five years, London still offers a breadth and depth of job opportunities within investment banking that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Well, apart from New York, but only 20.6% of finance professionals were interested in relocating there, according to Selby Jennings.