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Kurzarbeit comes to junior banking jobs in Germany

Just because big banks like HSBC have promised not to make layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic, don't presume that layoffs aren't happening. According to the 400 responses to our most recent survey (still open here), 10% of people can see finance job cuts happening already - and they're disproportionately working for smaller firms and on the buy-side.

As we reported last month, London boutique firm Arma Partners took an ax to its juniors in an effort to cut costs faced with the coronavirus. Cantor Fitzgerald also decided not to tread softly around employees at this time and made the additional move of cancelling 2020 internships without making replacement offers. 

Some of the most painful layoffs on Wall Street Street, however, are happening at Buckingham Research Group, which announced in early March that it would be winding down its operations by April 30th and getting rid of around 50 staff, mostly focused on equity research and sales. COVID-19 doesn't seem to have changed this: if anything Buckingham has been winding up ahead of time: FINRA's Brokercheck system shows that most employees were let go last Friday. Finding a new job is likely to be tough in the circumstances. 

When smaller firms aren't letting people go, they're furloughing them. Some private equity funds have been using furloughs for support staff and the handful of our survey respondents who said they'd been put out on furlough were typically in operations roles with banks or working for smaller boutiques.

Maxim Group, an independent New York investment bank is among those understood to have furloughed around 5% of its people on full pay. Boutique firm Lincoln International is also said to have asked some of its Frankfurt juniors to adopt short working hours or “Kurzarbeit." Lincoln didn't respond to a request to comment.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available. Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

Photo by Paulo Silva on Unsplash


AUTORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • pb
    29 April 2020

    What fascinates me is that some firms have managed to get over 90% of their staff working from home. Others, no idea. But I do know that some financial firms are a lot more interested and involved with active DR prep teams than others, that some have far better infrastructure for remote work than others. And some actively test everything they need for remote work, some don't test at all, and some test a little here or there. One firm I know (asian, in the US) treats DR planning as making sure that those above and regulators BELIEVE that the firm takes it seriously when management could care less. It has a manager who might be described as a minimalist, one who figures if you don't talk about a service needed in DR then it isn't needed in DR. Like Market Data services or trading systems. Shortly before the crisis was obvious, it dumped one of its best DR people, but at last check, the more senior manager still had his head in the sand. Same firm has piles of managers who only care that things are easy for them, managers who couldn't manage their way out of a closet, and certainly have no clue how to manage remote workers. Firms like that will most likely perform very poorly during this crisis, and end up dumping talented workers despite a claim they never lay off anyone (pure BS in reality).

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