By Andres Gonzalez and Jesús Aguado
LONDON/MADRID (Reuters) -Spain’s Santander is planning to hire around 150 bankers primarily in the United States as part of its plans to accelerate growth in its investment banking business, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Santander’s global corporate and investment banking chief, Jose M. Linares, discussed the plans in a town hall held in New York last week, the sources said. The hires are set to be completed over the next year or so, the people said.
The euro zone’s second-biggest lender by market value, led by chair Ana Botin, aims to become a bigger player in investment banking, doubling its franchise in the U.S. to diversify earnings. As part of its efforts to grow the unit, the Spanish bank is taking the chance to hire many bankers from stricken Credit Suisse.
Linares told employees around 60 of those recruits would be managing directors, mainly in the United States but also in the UK and other markets, one of the people said.
So far, the bank has hired more than 20 senior investment bankers chiefly in the United States, Reuters has reported.
As part of the hirings, Linares also announced a reshuffling at the unit, which includes the appointment of David Hermer, a former Credit Suisse banker, as head of its corporate and investment banking business (CIB) in the United States, the people said.
The bank declined to comment.One of Hermer’s predecessors Marco Antonio Achon will join the team headed by the global head of Banking and Corporate Finance Darren Jones, one of the sources said.
The changes announced by Linares during the staff briefing also included the appointment of Steven Geller, former head of Global M&A at Credit Suisse, as head of the M&A business. He will be reporting to Jones and Hermer.
All the appointments are effective as of beginning of September, one of the people said.
Two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters earlier this month that the bank was planning to hire at least 50 bankers primarily in the United States.
On Wednesday, the bank’s CEO, Hector Grisi, also a former Credit Suisse banker before joining Santander as CEO in Mexico in 2015, told a press briefing that the bank was strengthening its investment banking in the U.S. to support and grow its business without aiming to compete against the big giants there.
“In no way are we thinking about being a major player (…) nor do we plan to compete with the big players,” Grisi said.
He said the strategy, which foresees doubling the size of its U.S. franchise, was to focus on leveraged finance and corporate services for clients with a presence in Europe and Latin America, mainly in those sectors with the greatest growth potential such as energy transition.
Net profit at the bank’s global corporate and investment bank rose 16% year-on-year in the second quarter to 899 million euros.
The contribution from the overall investment bank to Santander’s group’s earnings rose to around 30% in the second quarter of 2023, from around 26% in the same quarter of 2022.
Santander employs currently around 8,000 staff at its global corporate and investment bank.
In the past, Santander has relied on Latin America for growth to offset the tough conditions for banks in Europe.
(Reporting by Jesús Aguado and Andres Gonzalez; Editing by Elisa Martinuzzi and David Evans)