Sunday 18 February 2018

Stockbrokers on hiring spree as more invest

Brian Healy, director of traded markets at the ISE
Brian Healy, director of traded markets at the ISE
Louise McBride

Louise McBride

TOP stockbrokers and investment banks are on a major recruitment drive, with staff numbers at some firms shooting up by much as two fifths over the last year.

The boost in hiring is a response to a growing appetite amongst Irish people to invest their money - rather than to leave it in deposit accounts which pay paltry interest. Today's investors are also keen to get advice on taxation, inheritance, insurance and pensions - and brokers and banks are gearing up so they can tap into that market.

"In the last 12 to 18 months, we've increased our total staff numbers from 400 to 560," said Pat Cooney, head of portfolio management with Davy.

"The number of people working in private clients has gone from about 200 to 300. Going back a few years, stockbroking was a deal-driven environment. Today, people are not as interested in talking about the next big deal. They're looking to get a financial plan in place for their personal wealth. We have been heavily recruiting over the last three to four years to respond to that."

Goodbody Stockbrokers has also been actively hiring over the last few years. "We've gone from a low of 210 in 2011 to about 290 today," said a spokesman for Goodbody. "Since 2011, the business has been expanding and focussing on getting out of the doldrums. There's an expectation of an increase in capital markets activity in the coming years with the anticipated Eircom IPO and the privatisation of AIB. We need to be prepared for that kind of thing."

So far this year, the number of staff hired by Goodbody has increased by 8pc.

"Some of this is a reflection of greater economic activity," said the Goodbody spokesman. "The new staff include Irish people who have come back from abroad after going to work in London or New York for a few years."

The specialist bank Investec has hired six staff for its wealth and investment team in recent months - an increase of about 30pc. "There are plans to recruit additional specialists for our wealth and investment business," said a spokesman for Investec. "Renewed confidence in the market is clearly a factor."

Over the last six months, people have become increasingly tired of deposit accounts - where much of their money was left before.

"In the wealth management business in particular, people have been keeping a lot of money in cash," said the Goodbody spokesman. "They are now feeling more secure and are considering other types of investments."

This increased appetite for investments has made its way to the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE), with the number of trades dealt on the exchange up 32pc so far this year.

"There's a greater appetite for investment amongst Irish and international investors," said Brian Healy, director of traded markets at the ISE.

The number of trading deals being struck by institutional and retail investors has particularly increased, added Healy.

The harsh lessons learned by investors during the record stock market crashes of 2008 has driven much of the demand for the bespoke services now being offered by stockbrokers and banks.

"People are determined not to make the same mistakes again," said Cooney.

Sunday Indo Business

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