eFC Briefing: Smaller Offers, NYSE Cuts, Soft Landings from Bear

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A survey of Wall Street recruiters sees firms bidding 20 percent less than a year ago to lure new talent. NYSE is offering buyouts to a quarter of its New York staff. Bank of America hired several Bear Stearns investment bankers for senior roles.

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Compensation packages offered to new Wall Street hires may fall 20 percent from peaks, according to a survey released by the smart cube, a global research boutique. "We are operating in what is clearly a buyers' market (for talent) that appears likely to continue for at least the short to medium term," the firm said. Some recruiters cited a trend to slash or even eliminate signing bonuses for new hires. Respondents also indicated the hiring process is taking longer, firms are often hiring temporary or contract employees, and candidates fearful of pricing themselves out of the market have "significantly scaled back their compensation demands."

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The New York Stock Exchange's parent company is offering voluntary-retirement packages to 450 of its remaining 1,800 New York-based staff, and plans further job reductions both in the U.S. and Europe. NYSE Euronext Chief Executive Duncan Niederauer said he's decided to slash headcount in the U.S. first, "because I don't want anyone in Europe to accuse us of being an American-led company," according to Financial News.

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Bank of America hired David Glaser as global mergers and acquisitions chairman. He had co-led Bear Stearns' investment banking unit and was a member of its management committee. B of A also hired at least five other senior Bear Stearns bankers in recent weeks, including three leaders of the financial sponsors group, a media banker, and a head of West Coast corporate finance. Another top Bear Stearns banker, Daniel A. Celentano, joined boutique bank Evercore Partners as a senior managing director in its restructuring advisory practice. He headed Bear's financial restructuring group.

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Bear Stearns Merchant Banking will be spun off from JPMorgan Chase to become an independent private equity firm focused on middle-market investments.

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Schroder Investment Management hired Ronald Albahary to lead its Strategic Investment Solutions initiatives in North America. He was SEI's managing director of global private client portfolio management since 2005, and previously was the chief investment officer at Merrill Lynch Retirement Group. Albahary will lead efforts to deliver global multi-asset and quantitative strategies to North American institutional clients and intermediaries.

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Unable to find a buyer for its U.S. municipal bonds business, UBS will close down the unit, according to media reports. The Swiss bank will fire about 280 people, spokesman Doug Morris told Bloomberg. Another UBS source told Reuters that about 70 of the department's employees will transfer to a separate muni-bond trading operation within UBS Wealth Management, while the remaining employees will be laid off.

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Fidelity Investments laid off an unspecified number of people, primarily from its human resources services and retirement plan services units. The Boston Globe said Some of Fidelity's own corporate human resources staffers were laid off as well. No money management jobs were cut. It was the company's third layoff round since last autumn.

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