Dealmaker hiring spree pushes banker headcount to nine-year high

The number of senior dealmakers working at top investment banks is at its highest level in nearly a decade, as firms have scrambled to hire and retain talent amid a record deal boom.

There were 19,600 investment bankers across the top 12 banks globally at the end of the third quarter, according to numbers from data provider Coalition Greenwich.

This is the highest figure since 2012, and an increase of 300 since the end of 2020, its figures suggest.

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While large investment banks have decimated their numbers of sales and trading staff in the years since the financial crisis, dealmaker headcount has remained relatively stable. On the trading floor, 12,200 jobs have been lost across equities and fixed income since 2012, according to Coalition Greenwich numbers, with 700 lost last year — even as revenues surged to a 10-year high at the height of the Covid-19 crisis.

By contrast, there were 19,200 investment bankers across the top firms in 2016, and that number has edged up by 400 people over the past five years.

The boom in deal fees has brought in an unprecedented $110bn in revenues for investment bankers so far this year, according to data provider Dealogic. The surge in volume has meant an increase in burnout among bankers forced to clock working weeks exceeding 100 hours, while overstretched teams have been forced to turn work away, executives have told Financial News

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Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and JPMorgan are among the banks adding investment bankers this year, but recruitment has become increasingly challenging. Salary increases of up to 50% this year are increasingly being pushed back on by senior bankers, who fear overpaying for talent in case the deal boom slows, FN reported.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke

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