Headhunter warns of bank exits

CITY headhunter Robert Walters warned yesterday that London’s banks should expect a “rapid exodus” of top bankers if Labour stays in power.

Robert Walters, chief executive at the recruitment firm, said the bonus tax fiasco alongside Labour’s 50 per cent tax rate would lead bankers to quit “en masse” from every institution.

He said: “Hordes of people are leaving certain banks. The bonus fiasco is causing a rapid exodus from state banks; people are just fleeing. It’s great for banking recruitment because we like movement but I’m not sure its good for taxpayers and shareholders.”

Walters said that London’s top bankers are awaiting the forthcoming election results before making decisions, but warned that if there was no change in government “London will see a wall of people disappearing”.

Rival recruiters were not as gloomy, however.

“It is fair to say, yes more bankers are leaving but we have also seen an increase in the number of people coming to London. The market is becoming much more mobile,” said Andrew Evans, Morgan McKinley financial services managing director.

Walters’ comments come after a difficult year for the company, which saw profits slide by 25 per cent to £104m, while revenue was down 11 per cent to £300.4m.