We're approaching the end of year dead-zone for banking interviews involving senior and front office positions, but this doesn't mean we're in an interviewing interregnum. Even now, there are graduate interviews and internship interviews, and interviews involving people who are out of the market or who are willing to move without having their bonuses for 2017 bought out.
If you fall into any of the latter categories and are a "live candidate", you may be interested in the contents of a new note from Deutsche Bank's banking analysts. In it, the analysts outline the issues currently bugging them about various banks in Europe. We've listed some of them below. If you're interviewing with any of the banks on the list, you may want to gently approach some of these queries. We're not suggesting anything too full frontal, unless you intend to antagonize your interviewers and walk away empty handed.
Questions to ask at Barclays interviews
1. What happens after Brexit? How does Barclays plan to retain passporting rights within Europe? How much of the Barclays investment bank business is business with European customers?
2. Barclays' investment bank is a drag on group returns. The U.S. investment bank makes good revenues, but seems to have higher costs than its U.S. peers. Meanwhile, your European investment bank suffers from lower revenues/risk weighted assets than its European peers. How do you plan to address these issues?
3. Do you intend to continue growing share in your investment bank?
Questions to ask at BNP Paribas interviews
1. What are your growth plans for Germany? How do you intend to expand the corporate and investment bank in the country?
2. You have a return on equity target of 10% in your business development plan for 2017-2020. However, this is on a higher capital base before (of 12% vs. 10%). How realistic do you think your new RoE target is? What will it take to achieve it?
3. Your equities sales and trading division gained market share in the first half of 2017. What drove this? Do you think it's sustainable?
Questions to ask at Credit Suisse interviews
1. You're planning an additional CHF1.5bn of cost savings in 2018. Where will these come from?
2. Would you say there are synergies to be achieved between your equities sales and trading business and your private banking business? How could you achieve them?
3. You've been hiring a lot for your equities business. What are your growth plans in equity derivatives and high and low touch equities trading?
Questions to ask at HSBC interviews
1. HSBC has increased its target cost savings from $4.5bn to $5bn a year to $6bn. Where are costs coming out from? How will the extra savings be made? What are the revenue implications?
2. Returns in your U.S. business are very low compared to your peers. What's your strategy for improving these in the long term?
3. How are risk weighted assets, revenues and costs in your global banking and markets business allocated between Europe, the U.S. and Asia? How is this likely to change?
Questions to ask at SocGen interviews
1. SocGen is a world leading equity derivatives house, but your performance in equity derivatives has recently been weaker than peers. Why is that?
Questions to ask at UBS interviews
1. What kind of impact is Brexit likely to have on your operating model and costs? - What are your expectations for increased regulatory spend? Your current cost base includes CHF700m of temporary regulatory spend - is this likely to become permanent?
2. Your current CFH2.1bn cost savings programme is nearly completed. But your costs are still comparatively high. Do you see scope for further cost savings? Where though?
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