Morning Coffee: Weird thing happens to some finance recruiters; ex-senior investment banker delights in doomy prognostications

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Something strange has happened to recruiters at Robert Walters. After 12 months in which any stock they held in their company was bobbing along at a price nearly 50% below the peak of July 2011, the share price has suddenly risen again. In the past three months, shares in the international recruitment firm have quietly soared by 45%.

Weirdly in recruitment, things are therefore looking up. Yesterday, Robert Walters reported its interim results, confirming that its gross fee income was up 10% year-on-year globally in the third quarter, and up by a more impressive 21% in the UK. Robert Walters' City-based recruiters will be among the beneficiaries of its rising share price. It's unclear, however, whether the company's good fortune is attributable to soaring finance recruitment. Probably not. In a statement accompanying yesterday's results, Robert Walters said increased business in the UK was due to the 'regions in particular'.

Separately, Jean-Pierre Mustier, the former head of SocGen's corporate and investment bank who left for Unicredit after the Jérôme Kerviel rogue trading affair, has made some ominous pronouncements about the future of investment banking. Banks are going back to the 1980s, Mustier told Bloomberg.  Higher demands for capital will force retrenchment over the next 5-10 years and European banks will get out of products like derivatives unless they can be cleared centrally, Mustier said. European universal banks are moving back to a 1980s commercial banking model in which they make loans, do some transaction banking and simply intermediate between buyers and sellers, he warned. Moral of the story: don't work for a European universal bank. US brokerage houses like Goldman Sachs have called a similar trend and are waiting in the wings to absorb European banks' market share, however.


RBS has passed some ‘inappropriate’ currency trader chats to the regulator. (Bloomberg) 

European banks are stuck in a doom loop. (Reuters)

Bank CEOs have a habit of turning into bank critics when they retire. (Quartz) 

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, Italy’s third-biggest bank, is now cutting more than 8,000 jobs. (Bloomberg) 

Inside Deutsche Bank’s new Paris office. ( 

The best paid partner at Equistone, a UK mid-market buyout firm, earned €3.6 million last year. (Financial News)

Who is Janet Yellen (apart from being Obama’s Fed nominee). (WSJ)

Far from racing off into the distance, underlying M&A activity is stalling. (Financial News)

In America, Deutsche Bank has near-shored to the vicinity of Atlantic Beach, Florida, where employees can go surfing. In the UK, it’s in Birmingham. (WSJ)

EY has been mostly hiring consultants, and Americans. (EY)

How to ditch Bloomberg for something equally good at ¼ of the price. (Finansakrobat)



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