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Some banks are using this as an opportunity to make big strategic hires.

Deutsche Bank's big Barclays hire a warning to banks cutting bonuses

Remember Deutsche Bank? Remember all that hiring from Credit Suisse at the end of 2022? The German bank is still busy adding to its fixed income trading team in 2023. And it's a reminder that banks which don't pay could find themselves exposed. 

Last week, Deutsche announced internally that it had recruited Barclays veteran Anil Atluri as head of its institutional client group in the Americas. Atluri, who'd been at Barclays since 2005 and was latterly head of global macro and securitized products distribution, has presumably foregone his Barclays bonus for 2022, and will join DB later this quarter following a short period of gardening leave. 

In a memo announcing Atluri's appointment, Panos Stergiou, the newly promoted London-based global head of the institutional client group, said Atluri's arrival represented "the next phase of growth in our FIC franchise." James Davies, the former head of the investment bank in the Americas, remains as chairman of the investment and corporate banks' American executive committee. 

With Goldman Sachs allegedly planning cuts of up to 30% to bonuses in its markets business, Deutsche Bank's swoop on Atluri is a timely reminder that hedge funds aren't the only ones interested in banks' sales and trading talent.

Michael Nelson, managing director at New York-based search firm Quest Group, predicts a lot of people in sales and trading are going to be disappointed in the coming bonus round. "Compensation at the banks for 2022 will be a big disappointment for many.  Banks generally have done well on the revenue side of the house across fixed-income sales and trading, however, the IB revenues are down significantly coupled with all the LBO debt banks are holding on their books," he says. Generosity to fixed income traders will be suppressed accordingly. 

This disappointment will create movement as banks like Deutsche make strategic hires for key business areas, predicts Nelson. It's not just Goldman that's at risk of losing staff: Nelson predicts that Citi could be hard hit, as it appears to be focusing more on financing than it sales and trading business. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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