Santander to expand investment bank by $250mn

Santander is investing $250mn over the next two-years to expand its Corporate and Investment Bank, while Wall Street rivals prepare for the largest job cuts since financial crisis.

This year, the Spanish lender has hired over 100 US-based bankers, about half of whom came from Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse was rescued in March by UBS, its rival.

Hector Grisi was the one who recommended many of the hires from Credit Suisse. Hector Grisi had spent 18 years working at the bank that collapsed in Switzerland.

Santander executive chair Ana Botin said: “We wanted people who would fit into our culture.”

Santander grew its corporate and investment banking steadily over the last seven years. The company now has 8,000 employees, up from just 3,500 in 2016. However, much of this increase was due to internal reorganisations.

The hiring spree this year is a result of Botin’s strategy to leverage Santander’s corporate client network in Europe and America by offering a variety of services including access to capital market and strategic advice. Jose Linares has led the strategy since 2017. He is the head of corporate and investment banking.

Botin said that the business they run was very different from those of other investment banks. It’s mainly a corporate banking and we now add the fee business. We are focusing on areas like renewables, infrastructure and other strong sectors.

She said: “We provide financing but if you want to deepen your client relationship, we have to give you access to dollar markets. We also need to provide strategic advice, capital market access, and structured transactions.”

Other parts of the bank’s global business have also grown, such as in payments and wealth management.

Santander has hired a number of executives from Credit Suisse’s Investment Bank, including David Hermer. David Hermer was the global head of equity capital markets and debt capital market at the Swiss lender, and now heads the CIB of the Spanish bank in the US.

Tom Davidov is Santander’s global head for financial sponsors. He previously held the same position at Credit Suisse in the Americas. Santander also hired Rob Santangelo who previously served as co-head of the global energy and infrastructure department at Credit Suisse to become global head of energy, energy transition and sustainability at the Spanish lender.

Job cuts at US banks will surpass 11,000 in this year, as Wall Street struggles with the worst recruitment market for the past five years following the pandemic hiring spree and lack of dealmaking.

Goldman Sachs, for example, is currently working on its annual round of job reductions that will be announced at the end of this year.