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Diversity drive

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It is difficult these days, if not impossible, to find a bank that does not have an official policy or target to boost diversity and inclusion. By pushing them out of their comfort zones, could the pandemic help finally turn these aspirations into reality?

The leading global investment banks pride themselves on their status as elite institutions, a status that is reinforced by a culture in which people who work in and around them habitually categorise them into tiers — top tier, second tier and so on — in a rigidly hierarchical system.

In this respect, they are very similar to institutions of higher education, which are likewise ranked and sorted by prestige. In the US, the overlap is quite seamless, with investment bankers classifying universities and business schools, for recruitment purposes, as “target schools”, “semi-target schools”, “non-target schools” and sometimes even as “super non-target schools.”

This culture presents an obvious challenge when attempting to increase diversity in the ranks, and offloads much of the responsibility for doing so onto the shoulders of the universities themselves.

On the evidence, it would seem that relying on elite universities to produce a more diverse pool of graduates is not going to work. For instance, although they have both made progress in this area over recent years, Oxford and Cambridge still take between a quarter and a third of their UK students from independent (private) schools, though only around 6% of the population attends them.

One excuse that banks might once have used for continuing to focus on a narrow group of top colleges — that they did not have the resources to actively recruit on campus at a wider range of schools — has been dealt a blow by the pandemic, which forced firms to admit that they could recruit entirely online.

Some are making a virtue of this necessity, broadening their search to include more schools outside of the traditional high prestige groups such as the Russel Group and the Ivy League. Others are going even further, with Standard Chartered this year launching an apprenticeship targeted specifically at school leavers without degrees. That should be applauded.


Leaving Lloyds

The latest banker to have made an exit plan at Lloyds Bank is Allen Appen, head of bond financing, the division that encompasses debt capital markets, syndicate, securitization, credit sales and trading. The firm announced a transition plan on Tuesday that will involve combining the group with corporate sales and eventually placing it under the leadership of derivatives banker Nick Hughes.

The news follows the departures earlier this year of the firm’s head of securitization, Matt Cooke, to Santander, and senior ABS banker Dmitrij Levitski, to BNP Paribas. Head of DCM David Carmalt is understood to be preparing to leave the firm as well.

Observers say Lloyds’ capital markets team may be feeling unloved by management, which once again failed to mention investment banking or capital markets anywhere on its latest quarterly earnings presentation. The revenues are presumably lumped under “other income” in its commercial banking division — the figure for this was £700m.


Barclays bonanza

The promotions continued at Barclays this week with several senior bankers in London joining the party after a round of new titles were dished out in the US the week before.

Peter Mason and Tom Johnson are among those who will be ordering new business cards, having been appointed as co-heads of capital markets in EMEA.

Lee Cumbes is moving into Mason’s old slot as head of DCM EMEA while Manuel Esteve is taking over from Johnson as head of ECM in the region.

Head of FIG DCM for EMEA Mark Geller also got a nod as global head of banks DCM, while Tom Swerling adds Americas equity-linked and financing solutions to his existing responsibilities for those product lines in EMEA and Asia, making him a global head.

The revamp also extended to M&A, with Omar Faruqui becoming co-head of M&A EMEA with Pier Luigi Colizzi.

Back in New York, Barclays has picked Barbara Mariniello to take over as head of DCM and risk solutions group Americas from Travis Barnes, whose move to global head of financial sponsors and sustainable and impact banking had been announced in the previous round of promotions.

However, she will not oversee securitized products origination, which has been carved out from Barnes’ previous remit to become a stand-alone business led by Marty Attea, also in New York.



ESG jobs

Environmental, social and governance-related personnel announcements also continued to roll out, with NatWest Markets picking Alvaro Vivanco to be head of ESG macro strategy in New York and BlueBay expanding is ESG investment team in London with a combination of hiring from elsewhere and internal shuffling.



Tech attack

Another hot area of late has been technology sector coverage, with banks particularly looking to beef up their teams in San Francisco to keep on top of what is expected to be a key area of growth.

The latest firm to make a clear move in this direction is SMBC, which has hired two former HSBC bankers, Jeff French and Jake Streit, as managing directors in the Golden Gate City

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