eFC Briefing: Europeans Show More Restraint

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Deutsche Bank and UBS cut employee bonuses more deeply than U.S.-based counterparts. In New York, aggregate bonuses shrank 44 percent from a year ago, to $18.4 billion. Bankrupt Lehman Brothers is hiring, through the restructuring firm disposing of its remaining assets.

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Large European banks are toeing a harder line on employee bonuses than their U.S.-based counterparts. Deutsche Bank, one of a few top banks that hasn't accepted state aid thus far, plans to cut the past year's bonuses by 60 percent on average at its securities unit, Bloomberg News reports. Major Europe-based institutions that did take government aid are cutting still more. UBS reportedly slashed its 2008 bonus pool more than 80 percent (excluding brokers). And Frankfurt-based Commerzbank is reviewing agreements that called for its newly-acquired Dresdner Kleinwort investment bank to pay about 400 million euros in bonuses for 2008.

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Wall Street's bonuses were down 44 percent in 2008, surprising no one but certainly adding to the gloom around New York. The state comptroller's office said financial companies paid out $18.4 billion in bonus payments last year, compared to $32.9 billion in 2007.

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For some, Lehman Brothers is a good place to work - for the next couple of years, anyway. Alvarez & Marsal, the restructuring firm liquidating Lehman's remaining assets, has been hiring staff to tackle areas such as derivatives and real-estate holdings, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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The old chestnut that an American inevitably gets a career boost from living and working in a hot market like China is starting to look dated, a top headhunter warns. While global experience is as important as ever, managements increasingly are applying broad definitions of that experience that no longer require having lived abroad, Dale Winston, chairwoman and chief executive of Battalia Winston International, tells eFinancialCareers News.

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Hiring isn't a top priority for Canadian banks as they face a worsening economy. While they've managed to avoid Wall Street-size layoffs, they've notably slowed bringing on staff. Says Michel Verdoold, president of recruiter Brunel Multec in Toronto: "The orders that we had we were able to fill, but we were not given any new assignments." Michael Gooley of Robert Half International in Toronto is finding companies are more "conservative" in their hiring practices.

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Swiss banking giant UBS hired 200 brokers in the U.S. during the fourth quarter, according to Bloomberg News. Among them: five Dallas-based wealth managers from Goldman Sachs with $4 billion under management, and five from Morgan Stanley's Houston office with $2.1 billion. UBS wrote big checks to attract these workers, Bloomberg says.

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Add "CHA" to the alphabet soup of professional designations available to financial professionals. The Chartered Hedge Fund Associate certification began enrolling candidates in June 2008. It must compete for attention with the CAIA (Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst), a five-year old, exam-based designation centered on investment analysis and portfolio management skills.

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