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Opportunistic Hiring Among Boutiques

Trading up for talent, banking boutiques are feasting on Wall Street's castaways.

While many laid-off bankers seek a new home within the vibrant hedge fund sector, smaller sell-side firms also are dipping into the pool of top candidates unleashed by the industry downturn. A recent Reuters story points to Thomas Weisel Partners, Wedbush Morgan Securities, and Evercore Partners as boutique firms engaging in opportunistic hiring lately.

San Francisco-based investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners has hired former employees of UBS, Bank of America, Merrill and Bear Stearns in recent months. Its president told Reuters that Thomas Weisel has been "a direct beneficiary of the dislocations" in the larger banks.

However, Weisel itself has announced a mass layoff this year. In April, when reporting a net loss for the first quarter, the firm said it would cut its workforce by 13 percent, but would "continue to selectively upgrade its talent pool within revenue generation areas."

Los Angeles-based Wedbush Morgan also says it's taking advantage of the flood of available talent. It has grown from 600 employees to 820 in the last two years.

Many boutique firms have sidestepped the mortgage-related and other losses that caused their bulge-bracket counterparts to lay off roughly 100,000 staffers this year. These upstart banks "are betting the cuts will continue well into next year, making the pool of unemployed talent both deeper and cheaper," Reuters says. For one thing, year-end bonuses are expected to shrink once again, even for well-performing staff and groups.

Roger Altman, the chief executive of merger advisory boutique Evercore Partners, summed it up this way in a confernce call last month: "This particular market condition affords rare recruiting opportunities, and we are able to find people and make the types of economic agreements with them that one doesn't normally see."

U.S. financial firms announced 100,775 job cuts in the first seven months of 2008, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a global outplacement firm. Financial services candidates counseled by the firm are averaging four to five months to find new jobs, longer than the usual three months.

AUTHORJon Jacobs Insider Comment
  • AD
    31 December 2008

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  • Mo
    Mohammed Ashraf
    12 September 2008

    I Have over 10 years of experience in Retail banking in Gulf region ( Dubai ). looking to re-locate to Canada, i'm looking to find a decent job in a bank in Toronto.... can i get yoour support pls.

  • Jo
    Joe Minaudo
    3 September 2008

    Hi FinanceCandidate,
    Feel free to send me your coordinates as I believe I can help. I lead the Toronto recruiting team for KPMG in Canada. Either my firm may be a consideration for you or I can put you in touch with contacts with search firms in Toronto that can help.

    Joe (profile is also on LinkedIn)

  • cg
    25 August 2008

    I'm a FINOP with over 20 yrs in accounting and regulatory reporting having had worked for Bank of NY and Salomon Smith Barney. The past year I've been the controller for a non-profit organization in Tampa, Fl.
    Open to positions in Florida or the NY tri-state area.

  • Pa
    21 August 2008

    The market emvironment for job seekers in finance is NO better in Canada than it is in the US. When the US economy picks up, probably within 2 yrs from now, it will outperform that of Canada. Knowledge based industries will be expanding (good for the U.S.) while commodities based industries will be in a slump. Therefore, in the long run the oppoertunities in finance will be better in the U.S. than in Canada.

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