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Investment Banks Seek Design Talent to ‘Pimp’ Their Products

Date: 15 January 2015

In a bid to improve the user experience of their mobile and desktop platforms, investment banks including Wall Street powerhouses JP Morgan JPM and Goldman SachsGS are on the lookout for design talent to help improve the way vast amounts of data is presented and accessed.

Hari Sopal, an associate vice-president at recruitment firm Harrington Starr, said banks were hiring in London as they shift from focusing solely on the performance of the back-end. He said: “Over the last years clients have brought their back-end applications up to speed.” Now they are “making sure those screens are usable,” he added.

Hishaam Caramanli, global head of securities eCommerce at UBS, said: “The old functionality is just as critical as ever, but the bar has been raised high in our consumer lives.

JP Morgan is among the banks currently advertising positions online for senior design professionals to help improve the user experience of its client-facing trading platform, JP Morgan Markets.

Rival Morgan Stanley MS is looking for a user interface developer with user experience and data visualization skills to join a team tasked with providing “real-time risk and P&L data to more than 600 equity derivatives traders globally.”

Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, is after an experienced designer in London to help develop the “look and feel” of its desktop and mobile platforms across a variety of business lines. On its website Goldman Sachs describes user experience as “interactive process that combines art and science”.

Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan declined to comment. Goldman Sachs did not provide comment in time for publication.

As well as providing broker services to the buyside via the desktop, banks have in recent years been developing a broader suite of mobile apps. These allow clients to, among other things, access research, trade the foreign exchange markets and even keep an eye on the book-building process of an initial public offering.

Among those on the lookout for designers to work on their mobile banking offerings for retail clients are Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.LN and Barclays BARC.LN, with the former out to develop “journeys that wow customers,” according to an online job positing...

...Recruiters point out that demand for designers and user experience specialists is outstripping supply as similar roles become highly desirable across different industries. Connor Scarlett, a financial technology recruitment specialist, at Selby Jennings, said: “As this market is developing rapidly, the candidate market is highly competitive, with banks and investment managers competing with tech firms in order to secure the best talent.”

An obvious place for banks to look is the ecommerce sector, where user experience is paramount. Sopal at Harrington Starr said his group had one client “who loves people who tend to have worked in the big eCommerce industry” at the likes of “eBay, Amazon and Blinkbox.”

This article appeared in the Financial News and Wall Street Journal

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