The 10 top London bankers you've never heard of

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These are dangerous times to be working for an investment bank in London. But some people are immune to the perils of being an expensive senior banker in a problematic market. We asked eight senior headhunters in London, working across a variety of markets, for their verdict on the key people behind the scenes in the City today.

These are the names they came up with. If the people below don't have longevity, no one does.

1. Dominic Lee, Goldman Sachs 

42 year-old Lee is a London-based managing director in Goldman's industrials M&A team. He joined the bank from Schroders in 2000 and was promoted to MD in 2009. Financial News included him in its top advisory bankers under 40 list in 2012 and predicted he'd be made partner in 2014. Unfortunately, he wasn't. 

Nonetheless, headhunters say Lee is one of Goldman's linchpin M&A bankers in London. "He's very good," says one. The expectation is that he will be promoted next Goldman appoints a round of partners - later this year.

2. Michel Antakly, Morgan Stanley 

Like Lee, Antakly is a big - but comparatively unknown name in IBD. A "senior managing director" in Morgan Stanley's London IBD team, he specializes in natural resources deals and has a close relationship with Glencore. Ankatly is Lebanese but grew up in Paris. He's a brilliant chess player, having beat France's national champion aged 16.  Headhunters say Antakly is to Morgan Stanley what Lee is to Goldman - although comparatively few people know his name outside of M&A in London.

3. James Pearce, J.P. Morgan 

Pearce is J.P. Morgan's head of credit sales in London. He joined the bank in 1995 and has worked there for nearly 20 years. J.P. Morgan is one of the top tier banks in credit trading globally and headhunters say Pearce has been crucial in building and maintaining its position in Europe. "He's been there a long time and is very well-liked. He's very down to earth, with no ego and a happy team. A super-decent guy," says one headhunter.

4. Marco Dion, J.P. Morgan

Dion is one of the powers-behind-the-scenes at J.P. Morgan. Head of the Central Risk Book trading desk at the bank, he's tasked with centralizing, netting down, and reducing risk for the bank as a whole. Dion studied at HEC and began his career on the LIFFE floor. He joined J.P. Morgan in 2007 and was global head of equity quant strategy until he was promoted to manage the central risk book in December 2013. "Dion is one of those crucial people at J.P. Morgan that no one knows about," says one fixed income headhunter.

5. Thomas Leake, Deutsche Bank

36 year-old Leake is Deutsche's European head of equity derivatives distribution and structuring. A Cambridge physics graduate, he joined Deutsche Bank seven years ago and was promoted to run sales and structuring for equity derivatives in Europe in 2014. "Leake is one of those peopel who is very good, very steady and has been slowly rising up through the ranks," says one equities headhunter.

6. Radovan Radman, Goldman Sachs

Radman was promoted to managing director at Goldman in 2013. He's thought to have joined in 2005 and is a senior equity derivatives salesman at the firm. "Radman is one of the rising stars at Goldman," says one equity derivatives headhunter.  "He was running structured retail equity derivative sales and is on the partner track after being made MD." He predicts that Radman will be promoted to replace Dirk Keijer and Quentin Andre, who left Goldman for Citi last month.

7. Caroline Robinson, Exane

Caroline Robinson is a pan-European equity saleswoman at Exane. She joined the French bank in 2012 after five years at RBS and has made a big impact. "Caroline has surged up through the rankings since joining Exane," says one equities headhunter, who describes her performance as "exceptional." A former colleague says Robinson is an "amazing account manager," who, "handles two or three of the biggest long only accounts and knows *everything* and *everybody* there. If one of the vending machines at Capital runs out of Diet Coke she will have a note about it."

8. Andrew Wood, Bernstein Research

To the extent that Wood is known, it's as the equity researcher who wins awards year after year. In 2015, he was voted best pan-European equity analyst for the ninth year running. 

9. Craig Butterworth, Nomura 

Nomura may be making redundancies in London, but Butterworth is safe. He joined the Japanese bank from RBC in 2014 as a managing director in the fixed income sales team and headhunters say he's since morphed into more of a COO. "Butterworth is a big man behind the scenes at Nomura," says one headhunter. "He's doing much more than just fixed income sales - he's reshaped a lot of things and worked on the regulatory angle. He's a young guy and is on track for a much bigger role."

10. Adityah Singhal, Deutsche

Singhal is head of CDS trading at Deutsche Bank. That may sound curious given that Deutsche pulled back from CDS trading in 2014, but we understand that Singhal has been closing Deutsche's book - and doing very well in the process. The archetypal dark horse, he's not an MD (he's a director), but is reputedly has one of the highest P&Ls at Deutsche. He's never had a down year and allegedly made €80m as he wound down the CDS book last year. The question now is what Singhal will do next - winding down the CDS book was expected to take up to four years, but he's ahead of time and a man to seriously watch.

Photo credit: Ryan McVay/istock/Thinkstock

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