Barclays' layoffs are a warning of what happens when big names join

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The more information that emerges about the 100 managing directors and directors who lost their jobs at Barclays last week, the more it looks like the decks are being cleared at the bank after last year's hiring spree. 

In 2017, Barclays hired over 20 new managing directors into its investment bank, many of them arriving only in the final quarter. As they become established, it seems that pre-existing senior team members are being let go - with only weeks until Barclays announces its bonuses.

A case in point is Kashif Zafar, the former co-head of global distribution and co-head of macro products. Zafar was displaced internally when Barclays hired Filippo Zorzoli from Bank of America Merrill Lynch in June 2017. Initially, he became head of relationship management in EMEA. Now, he's left altogether.

Giovanni Mazzocchi, the former Barclays' head of rates and FX distribution in EMEA and global head of rates distribution, is also understood to have gone. Like Zafar, Mazzocchi was part of Zorzoli's team. Meanwhile, macro headhunters in London say Zorzoli has "headcount" and is expected to hire.

Zorzoli isn't the only new MD shaking things up at Barclays. As we reported earlier this week, Barclays has also let go of various members of electronic trading team. The equities departures follow the recruitment of Stephen Dainton from Credit Suisse as head of equities and Graham Wayne, the former head of electronic trading at Knight Capital Group in Europe. Both men were hired in September. Dainton, in particular, is expected to put his own stamp on the business with new hires in 2018.

Barclays isn't commenting on the exits, except to say that they're part of the standard trimming that happens every year. This may be the case, but for those who've been let go the timing looks unfortunate. Had Barclays had made its intentions clear in the third quarter, the departing MDs would have had an opportunity to look for jobs when most people were sitting tight and waiting for bonuses. As things stand, they've been ejected onto the job market at one of the most competitive times of the year - without any performance pay for 2017.

The layoffs should therefore serve as a warning to anyone who gets a big new boss in 2018. Instead of waiting to see if you keep your job until bonuses are paid, it might be an idea to preemptively find a new one as soon as you can.

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