Investment Banks Tussle for Key Executives in Italy

Headhunters are hoping to use Brexit as leverage to fill vacancies at investment banks in Europe's fourth largest economy.

Just a week after Deutsche Bank announced a hiring freeze, it seems that it’s not all bad new for jobs in the financial sector as headhunters have been busying themselves of late in an attempt to lure Italian bankers in London back to jobs back at home.

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American, British, French and Japanese investment banks are looking for six dealmakers to head their businesses in Italy after a number of senior bankers jumped ship for top jobs at Italian corporates, according to a Reuters report.

Bank of America’s chief executive in Italy Marco Morelli, Nomura’s top Italian banker Francesco Mele and Barclays’ Italy head Alessandra Pasini have all swapped their investment banking jobs for ones at large corporations which have become increasingly attractive for senior bankers whose jobs now involve dealing with other aspects than just restructuring plans, cutting costs and compliance work.

Italian Banking Vacancies

The vacancies in Italy come at a crucial time for investment banks as they battle for lucrative work helping lenders Monte dei Paschi di Siena and UniCredit raise billions of euros in capital.

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While a high number of talented investment bankers have made the transition on to corporate life, the big banks remain committed to Italy. Nevertheless, Italian bankers tend to base themselves in London where there is more variety of work, along with preferable tax rates.

There are now more incentives for Italians to relocate to the country’s financial capital in Milan.

According to sources cited by Reuters, just 1 percent of the top five US banks’ European workforces were based in Italy in 2014, despite the country being the fourth biggest fee-earner in Europe for banks. Around 88 percent of their European staff, meanwhile, were based in the UK.

Incentives

Now that investment banks are expected to start moving staff into Europe following the Brexit, there may now be more incentive for Italians to relocate to the country’s financial capital in Milan.

Italy is home to some of the biggest fee payers in Europe which means that the country remains an attractive market to enter. Headhunters will, nevertheless, still have their work cut out as the list of recent departures in Italy including Societe Generale’s group country head in Italy Patrizia Micucci and HSBC’s head of global banking for Italy, Stefano Giudici, is considerable.

Bank of America and Nomura, whose top bankers Morelli and Mele became Monte dei Paschi’s chief executive and chief financial officer, are also reported to have instructed headhunters to source candidates for their Italian businesses.

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