Database of top Wall Street credit trader hires and departures in 2021

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6/17/2021 4:23:00 PM

Wall Street credit traders are swapping banks in what one recruiter calls a 'windstorm of activity' — we've tracked 45 hires and departures at top firms

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Stellar 2020 performance and pent-up hiring demand from the pandemic is spurring activity. Insider has tracked nearly 50 moves at top banks so far this year. See more stories on Insider's business page.After a record-breaking year in 2020, credit traders at Wall Street banks are changing seats in droves — catalyzed by a mix of pent-up demand and fortuitous timing.

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While it's not unusual for traders to shop their services to rival banks after bonus season, the level of churn on credit desks in 2021 is intense compared with previous years, according to industry recruiters. Insider has tracked nearly 50 hires and departures at the VP level and higher at top banks including Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, RBC, and UBS. The tally is not exhaustive. 

In part, the fevered pace is a byproduct of hiring freezes implemented during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic at many banks, which were reluctant to execute key hires remotely.At the banks,"people couldn't get their head around theZoomhiring. The buy-side got it right away," one senior fixed-income recruiter told Insider.

That created a backlog of hiring mandates for the banks, not to mention a large crop of sales and trading personnel eager to move. "With all the pent-up demand from people working from home, we've seen an enormous amount of movement the first six months of the year," Michael Nelson, a managing director with executive search firm Quest Group, told Insider.

Banks are also flush with cash to pursue ambitious upgrades. Credit was one of the strongest performers across trading desks last year, as intervention from theFederal Reserve, wide movements in spreads, and an onslaught of debt issuance spurred client activity. At the largest banks, industry revenues in credit soared to $19.1 billion, up from $12.6 billion in 2019, according to industry data and consulting firm Coalition. 

"The industry is coming off a record year," Nelson said."It's allowed some institutions to take advantage of that lucrative year and beef up their businesses."Compounding that dynamic, traders have plenty of motivation to entertain offers. Even if they received great compensation this year, performance will almost certainly drop compared with a frothy 2020. So rather than wait around for a smaller bonus, some see the logic of locking in a juicy guarantee while demand is hot, according to senior headhunters. 

"They had ridiculously high revenue last year, and it's not going to match this year," the senior fixed-income recruiter said."They're capitalizing on big comp numbers."Then there are wild card factors adding to the frenzy.

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