February 6, 2012 / 12:05 AM / in 6 years

Hiring by smaller banks spurs UK finance job market

LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Job vacancies in London’s finance sector grew threefold in January compared to a dismal end to 2011, as small and medium sized banks and fund managers looked to pick up staff flooding out of investment banks in retreat, a report showed.

The number of jobs on offer in the City of London rose to 4,050 in January, up from 1,490 in December, when major investment banks stepped up a wave of layoffs, recruiters Astbury Marsden said.

The vacancies were still down by 25 percent on a year earlier, however.

Astbury Marsden, a financial services recruitment specialist working across Europe and Asia, said “younger, niche” firms were among those trying to swoop on qualified staff leaving big investment banks.

These major firms have announced more than 130,000 job cuts since the middle of 2011, according to a Reuters tally. But the figures do not take into account activity at smaller firms - brokers and so-called boutique investment banks.

While some have also cut back, battered by a lack of mergers and acquisition deals for instance, or a rocky six months for stock markets and trading, many smaller or mid-sized firms have been trying to raid bigger rivals for staff.

Several recruiters have told Reuters RBC Capital Markets, an offshoot of Canada’s RBC, Australia’s Macquarie Capital and DC Advisory Partners, owned by Japan’s Daiwa , have been among those looking to fill gaps.

DC Advisory made six senior hires in 2011, in areas such as debt advisory, and it took on former Bank of America Merrill Lynch managing director Joel Hope-Bell in December to run its European business services team.

The group advises mid-market companies.

“Some City firms may also take the view that - as the downturn may have forced competing organisations to shrink and close down areas of their business - now is the time to capitalise and take on additional staff,” Mark Cameron, chief operating officer at Astbury Marsden said.

Cameron added that most jobs advertised were coming from outside the top 10 investment banks, in a big reversal of previous trends.

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