eFC Briefing: Morgan Stanley, Moelis, Merrill Lynch

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Morgan Stanley rehires an executive to help overhaul risk management. Moelis & Co. plans a London office. More fixed-income departures from Merrill Lynch.

Kenneth M. deRegt rejoined Morgan Stanley in a senior role overseeing risk management. Thomas Daula, the current chief risk officer, will leave once a successor is found, according to media reports. DeRegt has worked at Aetos Capital, an alternative investments firm, since 2002. He spent 20 years with Morgan Stanley, until leaving in 2000 when he was head of the fixed-income, currencies and commodities business. He becomes a managing director within the office of the chairman, reporting directly to John Mack, the chairman and chief executive.

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Merger advisory boutique Moelis & Co. reportedly plans to expand to London as early as July, just a year after setting up shop in the U.S. Thereafter, Dubai and Shanghai are "likely future outposts," Financial News reports. The newspaper says Ken Moelis, who was head of investment banking at UBS before striking off on his own last year, has sounded out several investment bankers about running the planned London office. Moelis & Co. has enjoyed rapid success, advising $73 billion worth of deals since July 1, tenth-highest among all investment banks according to Dealogic. It currently employs 40 bankers and 25 other staffers at offices in New York, Los Angeles and Boston.

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An ongoing overhaul of Merrill Lynch's fixed-income division has led to the departure of at least 20 traders and bankers, including derivatives executive Craig Lipsay, Bloomberg News says. Lipsay, co-head of the 70-person Strategic Solutions Group, reportedly left Feb. 1. He'd been hired away from Morgan Stanley in June 2007 with a two-year pay guarantee, Bloomberg reported. The news service also said distressed debt investment team leader Graham Goldsmith recently left Merrill for hedge fund Strategic Value Partners.

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Chicago-based William Blair & Co. hired John Brennan as head of private wealth management, a new position. Brennan came from Bank of America, where he was president of its Illinois unit and central region president for its private bank.

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In March, Barclays Capital President Jerry del Missier will relocate from London to New York to lead the investment bank's expansion in a range of fixed-income businesses. Since last autumn Del Missier has repeatedly spoken of credit and mortgage trading as growth areas where he's looking to add resources in the U.S. Barclays Capital remains on track to boost global headcount by 10 percent, or 1,500, people this year. Although damaged by asset write-downs, Barclays still managed to post higher profits in 2007 than 2006. Del Missier became sole president early in January when former co-president Grant Kvalheim resigned.

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Boston-based Putnam Investments is turning to fixed-income executives and asset allocators to turn around its lagging stock mutual funds. The Wall Street Journal reports Andrew Matteis, director of global credit research, has been assigned added responsibility as interim director of large-cap U.S. stock research. Chief Investment Officer Kevin Cronin took over responsibility for large-cap stock strategies in December, after the resignation of Josh Brooks. Brooks had managed the $10.7 billion Putnam Fund for Growth & Income, the firm's largest fund but one of its worst performers. More recently, Putnam Voyager Fund managers Robert Ginsberg and Kelly Morgan stepped down as well. They've been replaced by members of Putnam's global asset allocation team, led by Jeffrey Knight and Robert Schoen, according to a company filing.

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Lehman Brothers is cutting 200 jobs, or 10 percent of its investment banking staff, according to an unconfirmed report from CNBC.

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Dow Jones Newswires portrays Goldman Sachs' annual "cull" of underperforming employees as somewhat steeper than usual. Losses from leveraged buyout loans and private equity investments are prompting the bank to cut more aggressively, the news service says. The number given - 1,500 people, or 5 percent of current staff - was widely reported a month ago, when the firings began. The process is expected to continue through early March, according to Dow Jones, which also says Goldman has transferred many leveraged loan salespeople and traders to other parts of the bank.

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