Goldman Sachs said to be interviewing heavily for Paris office as Brexit deal unravels

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If Brexit seemed impending before, it's suddenly looking even more so. After a week of ominous murmurings about the possibility (or not) of a transition deal, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said today that a transition deal is, "not a given." Without one, the UK will be out of the EU in 413 days. Banks that have been sitting on the fence and assuming that a deal will prevent the need for them to move large numbers of staff out of London may now be galvanised into action.

Accordingly, headhunters and market insiders say Goldman Sachs has been conducting exhaustive interviews of French speakers in flow equity derivatives sales in apparent preparation for making hires in Paris. The interviews have reportedly been going on for the past month or so, but may now have a new urgency. If jobs migrate because of Brexit, sales roles are most likely to go.

Goldman Sachs didn't respond to a request to comment on the alleged interviews, but the bank has already said that it plans to have Paris and Frankfurt as its hubs when Britain leaves the EU.  One London-based equity derivatives hedge fund salesman said Goldman has been interviewing for both sales and trading roles in Paris: "They're simply preparing for Brexit and want to clearly map who there is in London in case their existing traders don't want to move."

Goldman has a reputation for conducting widespread "informational interviews" as means of discovering what rival banks are doing. However, one headhunter said this time feels different: "They've literally interviewed everyone in London and Paris, and interviews seem to have been escalated to a high level."

Denis Marcadet, managing director of Parisian finance search firm Vendome Associés said he hasn't heard of the Goldman interviews, but that things are definitely heating up. "The atmosphere here is totally different now that we have Macron as president. Instead of moving abroad, we see a lot more young bankers who want to stay in Paris," Marcadet told us.

Goldman isn't the only bank looking to hire salespeople in the French city. Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi is also understood to be developing its markets business in Paris, while Sumitomo Mitsui is said to be building a leveraged finance desk.

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