eFinancial Careers – Big European banks are hiring to fill these roles in the U.S.

July, 2016

European investment banks are, in theory, supposed to be making a play for a bigger share of the U.S. market. UBS says it’s still hiring on Wall Street, even as it keeps things steady elsewhere, and Deutsche Bank’s hiring freeze still means that it’s willing to invest in a senior banker state-side.

But disappointing revenues combined have led many to hold fire on their hiring plans. And Brexit has only made things worse.

“This year we’ve been working with big European banks and we’ve had instances where they just pull out in middle of onboarding investment banking candidates because their needs change,” said Cesar DeLara, a senior consultant in the investment banking practice at Selby Jennings. “Hiring has been spotty – they’re only pulling the trigger when really needed or pertinent to a particular team.”

Some European banks are still hiring in the U.S, however. Here are areas that are relative bright spots among the gloom.

Legal, compliance and tech

When it comes to the Dodd-Frank Act and Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR), U.S. banks have it reasonably nailed down, but many European banks not so much. Deutsche Bank and Santander recently failed the Federal Reserve’s CCAR stress test.

“Between legal, tech and compliance, all of these expenses are huge, accounting for hundreds of billions of dollars that these banks are paying,” said Nick Careless, managing director, Americas, at Twenty Recruitment Group. The compliance burden is continuing to eat up banks’ hiring budge, he says.

The hires that have been coming through the recruitment pipeline have been primarily jobs related to intermediate holding company (IHC) regulations, Pre-Provision Net Revenue (PPNR) modeling or CCAR, Careless said.

Other areas where European banks have looked to add headcount this year include technology, business analysis, project management, change management, risk management, compliance and model validation.

“How the banks stress-test themselves for regulatory compliance is a hot area – there’s not a lot of people with PPNR modeling experience, so some firms are being more open-minded about hiring candidates provided they have the core skills to wrap their heads around it,” he said. “Most have a huge firm-wide focus on these regulatory change initiatives.”

In particular, Deutsche Bank and Santander have responded to the Fed identifying issues in their respective stress tests by going on a hiring spree to bolster their internal capital planning, controls, infrastructure and stress-testing.

Many European banks with a U.S. presence are moving their support operations to places such as Tennessee, Utah, Texas and Florida, said Eric Goldstein, global financial services leader of Korn Ferry Futurestep. For example, during the past couple years UBS has been moving its U.S. Business Solutions Center operations to Nashville from Weehawken, New Jersey.


Audit is also key area where a lot of European banks are under the microscope, with plenty of attention from U.S. regulators.

“On the audit side of things, the Fed has identified a number of areas of weakness at some of these firms,” Careless said. “There is continued scrutiny from the Fed around the auditing systems in these firms, which have quite a lot of work to do there.

“It’s not among the sexiest areas to work in, but it’s definitely a good time to be an auditor – it’s a hot area,” he said. “Banks have an insatiable appetite to hire good audit folks.”

While banks still like to hire auditors from the Big Four, candidates don’t have to be from one of those firms to land a plum banking gig. More banks are willing to hire candidates from top-10 national firms and in some cases even top-50 regional firms.

“Audit, risk and compliance jobs are likely to remain the most resilient area of hiring regardless of negative market conditions or developments,” Goldstein said. “Client-facing hiring, including wealth and investment management, has been soft for the first half of the year, and we expect it to continue to tick down as employers’ efforts seem to focused on retaining top performers. Investment banking has been among the most negatively impacted areas of hiring.

“Although there has been some relaxation of capital requirements in Europe in order to stimulate lending, the regulatory and control environment remains strict given the recent memory of the 2008 financial crisis,” he said. “Here in the U.S., regional and community banks, as well as credit unions, have been more active on the hiring front in various areas.”

To read the article, featuring Korn Ferry Futurestep Global Financial Services Leader Eric Goldstein, about where big European banks are hiring in the US, please visit the eFinancial Careers website here