The world’s largest investment banks slashed their front office workforces at the fastest rate since 2014 in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest report from a coalition.
Tracking the performance of the world’s 12 largest investment banks, the Coalition report found that institutions as a whole reduced front office headcount by 5% year-on-year in the first quarter, from around 51,700 full-time employees at 49,000.
Equity business units saw the largest headcount declines across all functions and products in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, down 10% from approximately 17,500 to 15,800 Coalition detailed that institutional treasury stocks saw a “significant contraction” early this year, relative to other industry sectors.
Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities (FICC) headcount was reduced by 6% in the first quarter year-on-year at the world’s largest investment banks, from 17,200 to 16,200. Coalition has added that FICC headcount reductions were seen in macro products, primarily in G10 rates and commodities.
Investment banks tracked in the report include Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Societe Generale and UBS. Many institutions, particularly European investment banks, have recently confirmed major restructuring and cost-cutting schemes, which include the loss of front-office roles, such as those in sales, trading and of research.
Deutsche Bank is currently undergoing the biggest overhaul of its business in a decade which will result in the loss of 18,000 full-time staff, while Societe Generale confirmed last year that it would aim to cut around 1,600 jobs in a bid to to reduce costs. Elsewhere, HSBC is looking to cut its workforce by 35,000, although it has put those plans on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The investment banks tracked in the Coalition report saw their overall revenues hit five-year highs in the first quarter of this year, thanks to a 20% increase in FICC revenues. Equity revenue edged up 3% year-on-year, while investment banking divisions saw revenue increase 7% during the period.