Stampede towards tried and tested traders

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Banks are already hurling themselves at the most desirable traders in the market. And their enthusiasm for top trading talent looks set to increase.

The latest CBI/PwC financial services confidence barometer says the number of traders employed in securities has increased rapidly over the last three months, marking two years of uninterrupted job growth. It predicts the trading boom will persist into the summer, with recruitment levels in the industry reaching record highs.

Banks' seemingly insatiable appetite for traders reflects rising trading volumes and the hefty profits to be made from the area. Goldman Sachs saw trading revenues jump 22% to $7.7bn (€5.8bn) in the first quarter of this year, for example. PwC and the CBI confirm that profits have 'advanced smartly despite rising total costs'.

But while banks are undeniably eager to hire traders, they're not recruiting just anyone.

Russell Clarke, a director at Mantis Partners, says all sell-side banks are looking to hire, "but they are looking to hire quality, not quantity".

Shaun Springer, chief executive of Napier Scot, says prop talent is the top priority: "Demand is greatest for proprietary traders as a result of increased use of derivatives products and increased risk appetite."

Last month Royal Bank of Scotland hired a team of four foreign exchange proprietary traders, just four months after shutting its currencies prop trading desk in London.

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