As much as everyone would like to put the UK's messy divorce from the EU behind them, it remains a very live topic — especially for bankers who don't want to live in Frankfurt.
“Anyone who tells you it’s finished, it’s not,” said one senior syndicate banker.
Although banks have been preparing their plans to staff their desks on the continent for years, the ECB is still poring over the proposed seating arrangements with all the zeal of an overenthusiastic wedding planner.
Some firms have seized on the regulatory uncertainty as an opportunity to try to lure away talent from rivals.
"We have been clearer at an earlier point from regulatory discussions as to which roles would need to move to the continent — and that's something we know our rivals have pounced on," said a source at one US-headquartered bank. "Because they hadn't had the same direction from the regulator yet, they were able to try and entice some of our people to join them by promising them they wouldn't need to move to the continent at their firm.”
Subscribers — or anyone who fancies a free trial — can find out which bank was targeted by the poachers in this week’s article on the impact of Brexit on the European job market.
The traffic in bankers is not exclusively between the UK and Europe, however. At JP Morgan, there have been some recent moves between the UK and the US, with leveraged financiers Todd Rothman and David De Boltz relocating from London to New York.
Also in New York, former Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley banker Dolph Habeck has returned to his syndicate roots, taking a job with SMBC Nikko.
In the new role, he will concentrate on ESG topics, like he did at Morgan Stanley before he left in 2020.
In the intervening time, he worked in distribution at the now infamous supply chain finance firm Greensill Capital.
Habeck was hired by Greensill in 2020, along with Peter Charles, a long-time Citi banker who is now a non-executive director at fintech firm Bond Origination Technologies. Charles worked at Greensill in a part-time advisory capacity.
Two heads are better than one
Deutsche Bank has meanwhile named two new heads of equity capital markets for the Americas, Ben Darsney and Justin Smolkin, as the business grows. Both have been promoted from within the firm, in what a source characterised as a “formalisation” of their existing roles with some additional responsibilities. Deutsche Bank insiders are keen to point out that the success of the ECM team is down to much more than just Spacs.
As investment banks vie to be the leading firm on all things environmental, social and governance, BofA is the latest to set up an ESG strategic council, though its regional approach sets it apart from similar initiatives at other firms.
And in other news, JP Morgan has lured BofA’s former co-head of EMEA corporate and investment banking, Bob Elfring, out of retirement, while Barclays has hired Deutsche Bank’s former head of US CLO syndication, David Ryan.