Big hiring at small bank that pays cash bonuses

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Forget MiFID II: one small European bank has been going all out in its recruitment of equity salespeople and equity researchers.

Berenberg, the privately owned German bank that pays all-cash bonuses, announced its results today for 2017. Despite claims that MiFID II will ravage equities sales and trading revenues at smaller houses, Berenberg senses an opportunity and has been staffing-up.

Last year, it added 22 people to its London-based team of equity research analysts, bringing the total team to 122 people covering 770 stocks. With London-based 53 equity sales staff Berenberg already boasts one of the largest pan-European sales teams. Another 100 London hires are planned over the next 18 months. “While some of our peers have stripped back resources in their research capability, we have continued to invest across our equities platform,” said managing partner Hendrik Riehmer.

The bank also increased its number of employees in asset and wealth management by 22 "investment decision-makers", including portfolio managers. "We want to become one of the leading providers of active investment solutions for German and European stocks," said spokesman, Hans-Walter Peters. In the past year, Berenberg increased employment at its Hamburg headquarters by about 50 to 899 employees, at its London office by about 30 to 345 and at its Frankfurt office by about 20 to 98

It's in the U.S., however, that Berenberg is really going for growth. There, the bank says it wants to triple its workforce in NYC to 150 people in the next two years. Most of the new jobs will be in sales and research.

Berenberg generated an astonishing 43% return on equity last year. Although the bank pays cash bonuses, staff seem to stand in second place to shareholders: average pay per head was a mere €133k for 2017.

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