For Recruiters
While other divisions have shrunk, this has held its own.

The new most plentiful front office jobs in investment banks

Times have changed. Five years ago, if you wanted a front office job in an investment bank your best bet was to apply to the fixed income currencies and commodities division (FICC), which had the most numerous jobs for highly paid 'client facing' salespeople and traders. In 2019, however, jobs in FICC had been eclipsed: people were working in the investment banking division (IBD) were the most numerous.

The chart below, based on figures from banking intelligence firm Coalition shows the evolution of jobs by sector. Both equities sales and trading and FICC sales and trading jobs have steadily disappeared since 2014, with their disappearance acccelerating last year. Investment banking division jobs, however, have held steady.

IBD jobs are jobs in mergers and acquisitions advisory (M&A), debt capital markets (DCM) and equity capital markets (ECM). There's a simple reason for their persistence in the face of disappearing jobs on the trading floor: automation. While jobs in sales and trading can be automated away with direct market access and trading algorithms, jobs involving client handholding and trust are less easily delegated to machines. - As one Goldman junior told us a few years ago: "There's an incredibly low risk that the job done by the traditional M&A analyst will be automated...Almost all the analysis we do is tailored to a particular company and structure of transaction. It means we usually build new models and presentations entirely from scratch.

"Automation is more likely in areas like risk where processes are standardized," he added. 

At least that's the theory. Banks are, however, already ramping-up their use of Python instead of Excel among incoming IBD analyst classes and JPMorgan set up a team to 'digitize dealmaking' under ex-DCM banker Huw Richards in summer 2018. It's not clear yet what their impact will be on headcount, but for the moment people in IBD can feel smug: for the first time in years, they are the most plentiful of the lot. 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available.

Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • ho
    21 February 2020

    sarah your articles are awful with no value add. You should think about finding a new career

Apply for jobs

Find thousands of jobs in financial services and technology by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Latest Jobs
Selby Jennings Buyside
Model Risk Governance - Vice President | Manager
Selby Jennings Buyside
Manhattan, USA
Western Union
Finance Manager
Western Union
Denver, USA
Selby Jennings Strategy
Lead Credit Operations Modeler
Selby Jennings Strategy
North Platte, USA
Capgemini Financial Services USA, Inc.
Insurance Delivery Lead
Capgemini Financial Services USA, Inc.
New York, USA
Capgemini Financial Services USA, Inc.
Junior Software Engineers (Java Fullstack / Angular)
Capgemini Financial Services USA, Inc.
Jersey City, USA