The Wall Street banks most reliant on 22 year-old employees

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Despite booking record profits, U.S. banks collectively cut 4,300 jobs in 2018. All the while the size of their analyst classes have grown or at least stayed flat compared to years past. Whether they really want to or not, investment bank CEOs are turning over more responsibility to junior bankers and traders as they seek to cut costs and refill seats left by those who have quit or been let go.

To find out which banks have been doing the most “juniorizing” as of late, we searched through Finra’s database and looked at the number of registered employees at every big bank in New York with one year of industry experience or less (initial registration date of 2018 and sooner). We then calculated how much that group accounts for total headcount in New York based on Finra’s figures.

While there are some significant differences bank-to-bank, the overall picture is very clear. As you can see in the chart below, nearly 19% of employees have one year of experience or less as a licensed broker. Almost one-fifth of Wall Street’s securities staff are newbies.

Rather unsurprisingly, the three foreign banks – Barclays, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank – were among the top four employers of fresh blood. While U.S. banks mostly enjoyed 2018, foreign banks generally struggled in comparison and have been more prone to cut expensive senior staff. Deutsche Bank laid off a big chunk of its equities traders last year, though is said to be hiring juniors to take their place. Goldman Sachs was the only other bank with north of 20% of its Finra-registered employees with a year or less of professional experience under their belt. Goldman has been known to cull 5%-10% of its underperforming staff each year to retain the quality of their employee base.

Meanwhile, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley stand out from the pack on the other side of the spectrum, with roughly 16% of their registered staff with one year of experience or less.

The kids are taking over, it seems.


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