By Paul Clarke

Of Financial News

The world's biggest investment banks are continuing their brutal headcount reduction in 2024 as slashing costs stays on the agenda despite an uptick in deal fees.

The top 12 investment banks cut another 100 front-line dealmaker jobs during the first quarter of 2024, according to figures provided to Financial News by analytics firm Coalition Greenwich.

Eric Li, research director at Coalition Greenwich, said that large investment banks have also cut headcount in the second quarter.

"We expect banks to cut headcount in the first quarter, as that is when bonuses are paid, but we expect a similar amount of attrition in the second quarter, which is unheard of," he said.

The banks included in Coalition Greenwich's index are: Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Societe Generale, UBS and Wells Fargo. All banks were contacted for comment.

Barclays said it was cutting hundreds of jobs within its investment bank in May, with around 100 roles lost within its dealmaking unit. Bank of America trimmed its ranks in January with job cuts across its investment bank, while BNP Paribas earmarked 50 redundancies across its U.K. business in late April.

Meanwhile, UBS's acquisition of Credit Suisse in March last year will see jobs cut throughout 2024, with the bank planning five waves of layoffs from June.

These top banks employed 17,400 investment bankers at the end of the first quarter, down by around 1,000 since the end of 2021, when an unprecedented deal boom forced most firms to hire senior dealmakers.

"Investment banks remain laser focused on costs," said Li. "What we've seen is that while the big banks are cutting, smaller boutiques and other investment banks are picking them up. Around 60 of those who lost their jobs have found new roles elsewhere. It's a great chance for them to pick up talent that would otherwise be too expensive to hire."

Last year, large Wall Street banks cut thousands of jobs across their businesses as deals slumped for the second year running.

Goldman Sachs unveiled plans for 3,000 job cuts in January and followed this up with around 250 managing director layoffs in June. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley stripped out around 3,500 roles in June last year.

Citigroup cut thousands of jobs throughout 2023, but its structural overhaul unveiled in September code-named Project Bora Bora meant that around 20,000 more roles were earmarked to go over the next two years. It has also made key hires including former JPMorgan dealmaker Vis Raghavan as head of banking.

Logan Naidu, chief executive of specialist recruiters Dartmouth Partners, said that after 12 to 18 months of cost cuts there were some "rays of sunshine" around banker hires.

"It's bottoming out for the first time in more than a year," he said. "M&A recruitment is picking up, and there is some appetite to hire capital markets bankers, but it's from a low base."

Financial News is owned by News Corp, the parent company of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires.

Write to Paul Clarke at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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