eFC Briefing: Pimco Seeks Laid-Off Bankers

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The world's biggest bond fund is asking Wall Street firms to refer recently downsized employees as it seeks to fill 275 new slots. A Morgan Stanley technology center in Montreal will create 500 local jobs. While securities industry employment in the U.S. posts record highs each month, industry payrolls within New York City are falling. And San Francisco boutique Thomas Weisel Partners is cutting 13 percent of its work force.

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Sensing a recruiting opportunity in Wall Street's downsizing, Pimco has asked several investment banks to refer recently laid-off employees as it seeks to fill vacancies. The world's biggest bond fund manager, based in Newport Beach, Calif., plans more than 275 new positions and has interviewed 475 candidates this year, the Financial Times says. Rather than offer an "open door," Pimco reportedly told banks which types of candidates it wants in mortgage trading, credit analysis, and a number of other areas.

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Morgan Stanley plans to open a technology center in Montreal later this year, beginning operations with a number of local hires. As many as 500 people will be needed to staff the center, according to media reports. Bloomberg says the bank is now looking for offices in the area, and plans to hire graduates in computer science, engineering, mathematics and other scientific fields. The center will support Morgan Stanley's business in New York, initially serving as a technology platform for fixed income, securities processing and settlements, investment management, enterprise data and application infrastructures, and corporate technology and finance.

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Official employment figures for the securities industry are sending mixed signals, with industry headcount in New York City shrinking steadily since September, while nationwide employment in securities and related fields continues to post record highs. The U.S. Department of Labor's April non-farm payrolls release showed U.S. payrolls in "securities, commodity contracts, and investments" climbed by a seasonally adjusted 2,200 jobs last month to 867,600 - a fourth straight high. In New York City, however, securities-industry payrolls have fallen by a total of 9,500 (4.95 percent) since last August's cycle peak. As of March, the New York figure stood at 182,300, nearly level with a year earlier. The figures affirm anecdotal evidence that hiring and investment trends differ between investment banks, whose work forces are concentrated in the New York area, and investment management and futures trading operations scattered across the U.S.

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Boutique investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners Group announced plans to reduce its workforce by 13 percent over the next couple of weeks. In releasing its first-quarter results, the San Francisco firm said these reductions, combined with job cuts made earlier in the year, will total 160 employees. That will leave the firm with a staff of about 600.

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Between 260 and 280 American Stock Exchange employees face layoffs after the exchange is absorbed into the New York Stock Exchange later this year. Another 100 to 120 employees are expected to be spared, including the relatively few remaining traders and brokers on the Amex trading floor, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Amex currently employs 380 people.

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Glocap Search launched a strategic human resources practice, placing all levels of HR professionals into private equity and hedge fund firms. The new practice is co-headed by Terry Kassel, a former global head of human resources at Merrill Lynch, and Ruthanne Feinberg, a Glocap executive who leads the worldwide retained search firm's own internal recruitment efforts.

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Bank of America hired former Bear Stearns Senior Managing Director Cary H. Thompson to head investment banking on the West Coast, a new position, the New York Post reports. He's based in Los Angeles.

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