Permanent employees, Umbrella Company employees and other contractors seeking new opportunities in the City had a lean month in August, with vacancies falling by 3% on July’s total, new figures from the specialist recruiter Astbury Marsden reveal.

This will come as no surprise to financial services professionals on the lookout for new contracting assignments, as August is traditionally a low-activity month in the City. 2,670 new jobs and contracts were created during July but the total slipped to 2,580 in August, although this still represents a 4% increase on the 2,490 vacancies created in August 2013.

A substantial fall in fixed income currencies and commodities (FICC) activity contributed to the depressed figures, however, largely as a result of the steeply ramped-up regulatory capital requirements for these products. The revenue FICC generated for the large investment banks fell by 13% during the first six months of the year, while revenue generated by foreign exchange trading tumbled by 35% – the steepest decline since the financial crisis.

It is by no means all doom and gloom, however. Astbury Marsden senior consultant Simon Leveson explained: “After the summer lull, we expect to see the IPO market heat up again and lead to increased hiring in equities trading and corporate finance departments. 2014 has been far the busiest year for IPO activity since the credit crunch. The banks and brokerage houses are likely to see more work come through the door as companies look to join the latest IPO rush.”

The recruiter also expects to see a renewed, post-summer surge in merger and acquisition activity, meaning ‒ in a nutshell ‒ more jobs and contracts.

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