How Well-Placed Is Your Firm For 2011

We've been assessing top firms on 6 key criteria in order to establish what kind of prospects they (and the staff they employ) have in the foreseeable future.

We rated the firms out of 10 in the following areas:

Leadership, Strategy, Capital Adequacy, Profitability, Job Security, and Pay / Bonus Potential.

And here are the results:

Bank of America / Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Brian Moynihan has settled down well in his new CEO role and his 'back to basics' and 'keep things simple' approach to business will ultimately come good. That's not to say, however, that there might not be some bumps on the road along the way.

Leadership - 8 

Strategy - 8

Capital adequacy - 8

Profitability - 7

Job Security - 7

Pay / Bonus Potential - 7

Total - 45

Barclays / Barclays Capital

A determined leadership team has adopted a bold strategy and emerged with some excellent results. And the bank will be safe in the hands of Bob Diamond.

Although there may be some further tweaking of headcount over at BarCap in the coming weeks and months, bonuses promise to be decent and staff can bank on having an OK year.

Leadership - 9 

Strategy - 9

Capital adequacy - 9

Profitability - 8

Job Security - 7

Pay / Bonus Potential - 8

Total - 50

BlackRock

The next Goldman Sachs ? BlackRock could be the future.

Leadership - 9

Strategy - 9

Capital adequacy - 9

Profitability - 9

Job Security - 9

Pay / Bonus Potential - 7

Total - 52

BNP Paribas

Where next for BNP Paribas ? That's the big question. How will it see its role in the post financial crisis world ? Big, markets-orientated and international, or more niche and increasingly French ?

Leadership - 8 

Strategy - 7

Capital adequacy - 8

Profitability - 7

Job Security - 8

Pay / Bonus Potential - 6

Total - 44

Citi

Although many challenges remain, more businesses will be sold and more jobs will eventually go, a leaner Citi will emerge to the benefit of all stakeholders.

Boring is not always bad, and Citi is in the process of reinventing itself in order to compete effectively in the 'new reality' CEO Vikram Pandit has often talked of. Employees should be aware, however, that 'boring' banks don't usually pay out huge bonuses.

Leadership - 8 

Strategy - 8

Capital adequacy - 8

Profitability - 7

Job Security - 8

Pay / Bonus Potential - 7

Total - 46

Commerzbank

Another firm that is ditching the flashy stuff - boring banking is the order of the day.

Still burdened by that bailout by the German government, Commerzbank will be keen to get that monkey off its back as soon as possible.

Another round of job cuts is unlikely in the short-term, but bonuses are expected to be relatively modest.

Leadership - 8 

Strategy - 8

Capital adequacy - 7

Profitability - 7

Job Security - 7

Pay / Bonus Potential - 6

Total - 43

Credit Agricole

A dark house. Has the muscle to make a larger impact on the global stage, but history shows that it has been reluctant to do so. Cautious by nature, the firm is unlikely to push the boat out much further on headcount or bonuses.

Leadership - 7

Strategy - 7

Capital adequacy - 9

Profitability - 8

Job Security - 8

Pay / Bonus Potential - 6

Total - 45

Credit Suisse

Although there are currently question marks over whether the firm will need to cut staff after gearing up ambitiously this year (and bonuses may well disappoint some staff), Credit Suisse has adopted a balanced strategy which will serve it well over the longer term.

Leadership - 9 

Strategy - 8

Capital adequacy - 9

Profitability - 7

Job Security - 6

Pay / Bonus Potential - 7

Total - 46

Deutsche Bank

Still ambitious and prepared to take calculated risks. Although not the big bonus bank it used to be, staff continue to be well rewarded.

Headcount could come under pressure, however, if revenues don't start to improve in the coming weeks.

Leadership - 8 

Strategy - 8

Capital adequacy - 8

Profitability - 7

Job Security - 7

Pay / Bonus Potential - 7

Total - 45

Goldman Sachs

If there's one lesson we've re-learned over the last 2 years, it's to never underestimate (or bet against) Goldman Sachs.

Leadership - 9 

Strategy - 9

Capital adequacy - 9

Profitability - 8

Job Security - 7

Pay / Bonus Potential - 9

Total - 51

HSBC

Far too early to judge the current leadership team, but they will doubtless pursue a prudent, risk averse strategy - even with an investment banker now at the helm.

Not the fastest off the mark to axe jobs (which is good for employees), but never the best when it comes to year-end bonuses.

Leadership - 7 

Strategy - 9

Capital adequacy - 9

Profitability - 8

Job Security - 8

Pay / Bonus Potential - 6

Total - 47

Jefferies & Co

Bears Stearns without the attitude. A well-managed and client-led firm that continues to punch above its weight, Jefferies continues to beef up its headcount and is going toe-to-toe with the big boys in its chosen markets.

Will do really well - as long as the economy stays strong.

Leadership - 9 

Strategy - 9

Capital adequacy - 8

Profitability - 7

Job Security - 7

Pay / Bonus Potential - 8

Total - 48

JPMorgan / JPMorgan Chase

The good news about having Jamie Dimon as CEO is that you know that you'll have effective leadership and a spot-on strategy. The bad news, however, is that he is as ruthless as they come when looking at costs - both headcount and bonuses.

Leadership - 9 

Strategy - 9

Capital adequacy - 9

Profitability - 8

Job Security - 7

Pay / Bonus Potential - 7

Total - 49

Macquarie

The firm has struggled to deliver the returns of previous years, but is extremely well capitalized and very well positioned when the markets pick up.

Provided there is no major deterioration in trading conditions, no major job culls are expected, but bonuses are thought likely to be relatively unexciting this year-end.

Leadership - 8 

Strategy - 7

Capital adequacy - 9

Profitability - 6

Job Security - 7

Pay / Bonus Potential - 7

Total - 44

Morgan Stanley

The jury is still out here - on CEO James Gorman, his strategy and future revenues and profits.

Staff can at least rest easy in the knowledge that the firm is not trigger-happy when it comes to cutting jobs, and bonuses are likely to be relatively good again this year, despite earnings continuing to disappoint.

Leadership - 7 

Strategy - 7

Capital adequacy - 8

Profitability - 6

Job Security - 7

Pay / Bonus Potential - 8

Total - 43

Nomura

The bold move to acquire Lehman's European and Asia-Pac businesses will ultimately bring its rewards. The prospects for this firm are good, despite the fact that several senior former Lehman executives have left in recent months.

Nomura is playing a long game, and staff shouldn't expect knee-jerk reactions when it comes to job cuts, or being short-changed when it comes to front office bonuses.

Leadership - 9 

Strategy - 8

Capital adequacy - 8

Profitability - 7

Job Security - 7

Pay / Bonus Potential - 8

Total - 47

Royal Bank of Canada / RBC Capital Markets

A definite winner post-financial crisis. The future is bright, but much will depend on the leadership's appetite for risk. Has the resources and the abilities to take on the big boys.

Leadership - 9

Strategy - 9

Capital adequacy - 9

Profitability - 8

Job Security - 8

Pay / Bonus Potential - 7

Total - 50

Royal Bank of Scotland

It's been a painful ride so far, and there's still much to do, but CEO Stephen Hester has done as well as can be expected. He will never please all his stakeholders, but the bank, under his leadership, has a long term plan which it is ruthlessly following.

More jobs will go, and bonuses are likely to be relatively low for political reasons, but at least this supertanker is being turned around - albeit slowly.

Leadership - 8 

Strategy - 8

Capital adequacy - 8

Profitability - 7

Job Security - 5

Pay / Bonus Potential - 6

Total - 42

Societe Generale

Has recovered well over the last 2/3 years, weathering both the financial crisis and that massive trading scandal.

Never the first to axe staff, the firm is well placed to take advantage in the event of a sustained upturn in the global economy. Bonuses are usually pretty decent.

Leadership - 7

Strategy - 8

Capital adequacy - 8

Profitability - 7

Job Security - 8

Pay / Bonus Potential - 8

Total - 46

Standard Bank

The firm has been on a fairly aggressive hiring spree in the past 2 years or so, and had ambitious expansion plans, especially in investment banking.

Headcount has now got out of kilter with revenues, and Standard Bank is moving quickly to resolve this issue.

Over 2,000 jobs will go in the latest round of job cuts, and support staff bonuses are likely to be relatively modest this year-end. However, the bank will be keen to retain the services of the front office staff it still requires, and they are likely to be looked after.

Leadership - 7 

Strategy - 7

Capital adequacy - 8

Profitability - 6

Job Security - 6

Pay / Bonus Potential - 6

Total - 40

Standard Chartered Bank

A good leadership team, following a well-planned long-term strategy geared towards markets that will drive future global growth.

Maybe not the most exciting place to work, but there's a lot to be said for a steady ship, reliable bosses and relative job security.

Leadership - 9

Strategy - 9

Capital adequacy - 8

Profitability - 9

Job Security - 8

Pay / Bonus Potential - 6

Total - 49

Toronto Dominion Bank / TD Securities

Along with most Canadian banks, TD has weathered the financial crisis relatively well. The firm has a strong balance sheet and the financial clout to emerge as a winner from the recent turmoil in the industry.

Don't expect anything spectacular, but do expect steady progress - and the odd strategic acquisition.

Leadership - 9 

Strategy - 8

Capital adequacy - 9

Profitability - 8

Job Security - 8

Pay / Bonus Potential - 6

Total - 48

UBS

An experienced executive team, led by Oswald Gruebel, has worked hard and intelligently to turn this huge Swiss bank around. Although not completely there yet, a firm that looked on the ropes just 2 years ago has emerged as a Championship contender.

This is one firm that will have learned from its previous mistakes, and it will remain cautious on the risk-taking, headcount and compensation fronts. And rightly so. 

Leadership - 9 

Strategy - 9

Capital adequacy - 8

Profitability - 7

Job Security - 8

Pay / Bonus Potential - 7

Total - 48

Wells Fargo

Strong leadership, sound strategy, excellent execution. So what if it's not Goldman Sachs.

Leadership - 9

Strategy - 9

Capital adequacy - 8

Profitability - 9

Job Security - 8

Pay / Bonus Potential - 7

Total - 50

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