If the banking job cuts do indeed materialize just as the holiday tan fades, new hires may want to watch themselves. “Last in, first out” doesn’t make sense if recent recruits were brought in as upgrades, but the impetus to eject those without established support networks can be strong.
Berenberg does not comment on who was laid off in his recent round of job cuts. There are suggestions that this is just a standard instance of a 5% annual reduction, although in a message to staff David Mortlock, Berenberg’s managing partner, said the bank had “taken measures to ensure our investment bank’s cost base is appropriate” given a “much more challenging environment”.
Insiders say the cuts coincided with the departure of various people hired over the past few years, including some seniors.
For example, Dominik Bär, the 39-year-old former JPMorgan banker hired by Berenberg in January 2021 to lead the German investment bank, is said to have quit. We don’t know where it goes next. Steven Pensa, vice president of corporate finance, who was hired in May 2021, also reportedly resigned of his own volition.
Other recent hires seem to have had less control over their departures. Sources say Anton Evens, who joined the real estate team in late 2021 (and also spent time at JPMorgan) was among the layoffs. The cuts also reportedly encompassed banking markets and equity capital markets (ECM) analysts and associates.
The downsizing comes after Berenberg announced in March that he was building a 25-person dealing team in London, made up in part of bankers who had moved to the City from Frankfurt and elsewhere. In retrospect, insiders say moving to London might have been a bad idea – it’s easier to lay off staff in the City than in mainland Europe.
The cuts come after a period of expansion at Berenberg and still leave the bank considerably larger than just a few years ago. The German bank now has offices in London, New York, Frankfurt, Paris, Stockholm and Brussels, up from just London, New York and Frankfurt in 2018.
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