As 2015 comes to a close, the bonus and hiring market for 2016 is beginning to become more clear. Unless you live under a rock you have heard the recent news from Morgan Stanley, Citi, and JPM. JP Morgan and Citi both announced that their bonus pools will remain flat. That is UNLESS they have poor trading returns in December like Citi did last year and have to adjust bonuses down as a result. Morgan Stanley is cutting back their FI business headcount by 25%. We have insider information that the FX business at MS has been hit especially hard with 70% of FX MD’s getting the axe and roughly 40% of the FX business in North America being trimmed.

Integrated Management is seeing a strong uptick in hiring in quantitative backgrounds and continued strength in all things regulatory. If you are a modeler or related to anything regulatory then 2016 will be a good year. The war for talent in these two areas remains strong and it is a seller’s market. 

One interesting trend we are seeing across numerous banks this year we have not seen for the last 8 years. We are in touch with a number of groups that have spent November and December interviewing candidates and making offers with start dates that are immediately after the date the candidate is expected to receive their bonus check. The trend over the last few years has been to wait for candidates to get paid their bonus then begin the interview process with start dates from March to May. In several cases we have seen offers made in Nov/Dec with a guarantee for 2016’s comp. 

The takeaway from this trend depends on your point of view. If you are a hiring manager looking for scarce talent, your talent pool is shrinking by the day. If you are a candidate thinking about making a move, you might want to start looking a little earlier than normal.