As we are all too aware, M&A activity has reduced significantly across most sectors, resulting in multiple rounds of cuts at the largest investment banks and bonus percentages that have left bankers with an existential crises. Despite this, commentary suggests most remain cautiously optimistic, anticipating a market pick-up in Q4 2023 or Q1 2024.
There is a variety of strategies deployed to combat this market upheaval ranging from high levels of redundancies to a bullish hiring strategy to snatch market share in the medium and long term. Generally, the large full-service investment banks are mostly laying low and employing strict hiring freezes with the exception of essential hiring in busier markets. Some firms have employed a strategy of targeting strong talent such as Deutsche Bank, hiring quite a few senior bankers from Credit Suisse and in some instances bolstering sector teams from the junior to senior level. Paul Reilly, CEO of Raymond James, has ruled out cuts in the UK market, arguing that they have worked hard in building the UK & European deal making teams, so will look to retain staff. We have also seen a lot of activity at Moelis, particularly within the US, almost doubling their technology investment banking group, following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. PJT Partners have also hired opportunistically including the appointment of Gwen Billon as Head of Services and Elisa Bianco covering the consumer & retail sectors in Europe.
There are some sub-sectors which are experiencing higher levels of activity. We have seen a robust recruitment market within the infrastructure, renewable energy and energy transition sectors, with a higher level of M&A transactions closing. The insurance market has also seen a lot of consolidation over the last few years, which has continued this year and translated to higher levels of demand for sector specialists. Outside of these areas, most active roles will be essential junior to mid-level talent or opportunistic growth hires at the senior level.
Overall, across investment banking recruitment, we can expect essential junior to mid-level positions and opportunistic growth hires at the senior level to be the most active roles outside of these specialised sectors. The market remains dynamic, and proactive measures to attract top talent and adapt to changing circumstances will be necessary for success in the industry.
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