Wednesday, August 17

Natixis to Hire London Bankers in Plan to Build UK Client Base

Natixis SA intends to boost its headcount in London as part of a bid to take on more UK clients.

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(Bloomberg) — Natixis SA intends to boost its headcount in London as part of a bid to take on more UK clients.

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The French investment bank, which was bought out by BPCE SA last year, plans to add between 20 and 30 bankers to its operations in the City of London by 2024, according to Simon Eedle, senior country manager in the UK. The unit employs about 300 people locally today.

“We’ve said we’ll grow our UK revenue by 5 to 10% over the next two years; we’d expect our workforce to grow by as much as well,” Eedle said in an interview with Bloomberg News.

Natixis aims to add 500 million euros ($508 million) in revenue to its core investment banking activities by 2024, in part by securing new clients in its main markets, under a strategic plan announced a year ago.

London’s role in the growth effort comes less than two years after the bank cut 50 posts there under a review of its trading operations. Under the new plan, bankers in the city are signing up customers in the energy and technology spaces, particularly those involved in the transition to greener power. For now, the lender’s clients are still mostly asset managers, banks and private equity firms, according to Eedle.

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“The UK is still the biggest financial market in EMEA, it has the largest concentration of financial institutions — over 300 banks are in the City,” Eedle said. “And we don’t just see these as rivals. For us they could be clients or even counterparties.”

Employer’s Market

Eedle thinks the French bank will be supported in its hiring effort by a shift in London’s financial jobs scene, with “the first signs showing that this is turning from an employee’s market to an employer’s market.”

“Our industry faces a lot more competition in the UK from fintech, crypto and other industries, but some of these sectors might be starting to cool off,” he said.

Natixis, which retains its own balance sheet within the BPCE group, intends to focus its efforts in the UK on local clients. Before Brexit, less than half of the Natixis’ business in London catered to UK customers. Eedle believes this proportion has gradually risen to about 80%.

Natixis is confident it can grow further in London, even with soaring inflation, rising interest rates and other gathering economic clouds for British firms.

“Our clients are facing a lot of headwinds,” Eedle said. “But because we have little exposure to UK corporates, and are starting off from a low base, we can use this moment to build out our client base.”

“Every wobble is an opportunity for us,” he said.