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US banks aren't giving many interns offers. That's a worry in London

If you've got a summer internship with an investment bank, you won't just be doing it for the salary and the opportunity to fetch coffees for more senior bankers and traders. In most cases, you'll also be doing it for the potential to convert the internship into a full time job offer. 

Unfortunately, that could be problematic this year. 

Banks aren't commenting, but in the US, interns (AKA summer analysts) have already been told whether they are wanted back after they graduate. And in many cases the answer is no.

Writing on forum website Wall Street Oasis, interns at the likes of Rothschild and Morgan Stanley have been complaining that no more than 30% and 50% (in some groups at MS) respectively received full time offers this summer. In good years, upwards of 75% of interns can receive return offers, but both banks have been cutting their analyst ranks in 2023 and both appear to be being cautious. 

That's bad news for summer analysts in London, who won't find out whether they have offers for another couple of weeks yet. The wait is filled with trepidation: "The formal line is that conversion won’t be affected by the CS integration, but we will see," says one at UBS. 

In some cases, London interns aren't told whether they have offers until weeks after the internships end. This is typically the case at Goldman Sachs, where it can be mid-September before interns get the call.  Blackrock is said to operate a similar system. 

Banks' appetite for converting interns is a reflection both of their revenue expectations and - in some cases, of the number of people they deferred from arriving this year. At Credit Suisse (now UBS), a lot of graduates who were supposed to join this summer have been made to defer until February 2024, suggesting the bank won't need as many student recruits next year. At Perella Weinberg, students due to arrive in July '23 were offered an extra £5k in sign-on bonus to disappear until July '24. 

For the moment, there's little sign that M&A deals in particular are making a comeback. However, and despite some of the worst figures emerging on intern conversions from the US, junior bankers say interns should stay optimistic. "The pipeline is looking for strong for us, there is a strong feeling that momentum is starting to build," says one newly arrived analyst at an elite boutique in London. "They plan on taking everyone they deem to be of high enough calibre and that is the same bar as previous years, so should lead to a similar number of conversions," he adds, reassuringly.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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