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The US bank with big hiring plans for Asia

Western banks are looking at making job cuts, but Jefferies is adamant that now is not the time to be scaling back.

In a letter to employees last month, Jefferies co-President Rich Handler said that the bank sees the current market environment as a good opportunity to grow and win market share. “We have room for expansion and improvement virtually everywhere we look around Jefferies,” he wrote.

The bank continued this theme at its investor day held on October 12, when Handler said that he sees the growth of its investment banking business as, “the core opportunity.  Chris Kanoff, global head of investment banking, echoed this and said the bank is continuing to expand in APAC. “In Asia-Pacific, we’re going to kind of continue to grow incrementally and further develop our global banking platform,” Kanoff said.

Jefferies began a rapid expansion of its Asia operation three years ago when it hired Jonathan Slone from CLSA as chairman of its Asia business. Slone then drew around 50 bankers and traders from CLSA before leaving last year to set up his own private equity firm.

But Slone’s departure has not dampened Jefferies’ APAC ambitions. Jefferies employs 83 investment bankers in the region, of which 21 are managing directors, and its biggest presence is in Hong Kong.  Christopher Laskowski joined a year ago from Citigroup as head of Asia Investment  banking, and in June he hired former Citigroup colleague Philip Li as head of Hong Kong investment banking.

Jefferies said Asia is a core region, along with Europe and the US.  Since the end of last year, the bank has added 194 bankers and 45 managing directors globally and while the pace of hiring is unlikely to continue in 2023, Jefferies is still eyeing global expansion and is planning to open an office in Dubai.

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AUTHORDavid Rothnie Insider Comment

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