Financiers in demand
By Oleg Nikishenkov
Competition is growing for skilled and experienced financial staff capable of handling the bureaucratic labyrinth of banking. Citigroup has hired four former Troika Dialog bankers, including well-known Moscow strategist Kingsmill Bond. The group on Monday revealed it had appointed Dmitry Ankudinov, ex-Renaissance Capital managing director, as head of banking for Russia. Ankudinov is to replace Alex Waechter, who will head Citi Group banking for the entire CIS region.
Nick Rees, head of Star Search, said several of the larger global banks are hiring – but not always by choice.
“They seem to be paying for their lack of investment, ambition or growth in the region, which forced some of their best talent to seek better opportunities elsewhere.”
The main areas of recruitment, according to Rees, are in mergers and acquisitions, debt capital markets, equity derivatives and structured products.
“With Sberbank (ex-Troika) and VTB still f lexing their financial muscles, it will be interesting to see whether those with strong global platforms and client bases are able to keep or attract the best in the business. Or will their Russian competitors continue with their almost blank-cheque policy?” wrote Rees.
The Renaissance Group has formed Renaissance Advisors to help investors look at the big picture with a new unit providing “holistic solutions”. Dmitri Sredin will head the operation as CEO and Rolf Scherrer as COO. Mr. Scherrer joined Renaissance in 2010 from Credit Suisse Private Banking. The Russian investment group also hired Yavuz Uzay as the head of Turkish equity research and began trading on the Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE). Uzay joined from the London office of Goldman Sachs, where he was executive director in the EMEA Fundamental Strategies Group.
Christian Lepolard, managing partner of Antal Russia, a major multinational HR consultancy,
said, “The moment seems quite positive. We in the recruitment business are quite confident as we see that companies are hiring again.
“Banks are starting to recruit, especially for the retail segment. Investment banking is also growing, although quite slowly, and within next six months we should see more going on,” he said.
For recruitment agencies even the fact that several major foreign banks like HSBC and Barclays quit retail banking in Russia is no tragedy. “Other banks hire the former staff, trying to pick the best, and recruitment is growing even when the sector is in the recession,” said Christian Lepolard. The consultant compared the current situation with the post-crisis period of late 1999, seeing similar trends.
Georgy Georgiev, head of the NGR Services, an on-line head hunter, said the market has a much more optimistic outlook now. “The decision cycle of big financial corporations is very long, and I think that the choice of those who left was taken at the bottom of the market,” said the recruiter. He noted that optimism has grown just in the last six months and that clients among the investment banks have intensified their activity.
Leonard Nebons, CEO of NebonsLewin HR consultancy, is more cautious. He says the only banks hiring dynamically are government-owned financial institutions, and that it is impossible for private banks to compete with them now. According to Nebon, private banks are only filling gaps in their infrastructure, not expanding.