Why SocGen's longest serving traders are stuck in their jobs in London

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Today was BNP Paribas' results day. Tomorrow will be the day of SocGen's results.

The other French bank has already said it plans to cut 1,600 jobs from its corporate and investment banking business and is (as usual) offering some generous voluntary redundancy payments to anyone there who goes of their own accords. However, these voluntary redundancy arrangements are not open to everyone and while they wait to see what's happening, SocGen's longer serving traders and salespeople are finding it difficult to get jobs elsewhere.

This lack of employability has nothing to do with calibre. - SocGen's equity derivatives staff are among the best globally, with the bank ranking third overall in the business in 2018 according to Coalition. 

The problem, instead, is SocGen's unfeasibly long notice periods.

We've been here before. We first reported on SocGen's long London notice periods in May 2017, at which time the French bank was imposing a five month notice period on all global markets staff, compared to a three month average at most banks. SocGen subsequently cut this for any salespeople and traders hired after January 2018, but staff hired before that point remain on the old contracts.

Equities headhunters say this is proving problematic as the 1,600 redundancies loom. "A lot of people there are going to be put at risk and even good people are concerned," says one. - Recent poor bonuses have increased the impetus to quit, but the long notice periods can discourage other banks from taking SocGen traders on.

Separately, and ahead of SocGen's global results for the first quarter tomorrow, results have been released for Societe Generale Internationale Limited in the UK in 2018. This particular business, which employed 477 people focused on prime services and commodities, paid its average employee a salary of £100k last year and generated profit before tax of £132m on revenues of £1.3m.

SocGen declined to comment.

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