eFC Briefing: The Wolf Is At the Door

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If you got a bonus for 2008 and your employer was backstopped by TARP money, lock your doors. While bailed-out banks writhe, boutiques are adding new slots for bond traders and salesmen who prefer pay for production.

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If you got paid for last year, you may think you dodged a bullet. But if your family's income exceeds $250,000 and your employer received bailout funds, Washington and Albany have your personal bank account in their sights. The names of Merrill Lynch's 200 largest bonus recipients could be made public any day, after a New York State judge ruled state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo can release the information. Dozens of employees at AIG Financial Products agreed to return more than $50 million of retention bonuses right after Cuomo threatened to publish their names and bonus amounts.

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Adapting to congressional concerns about distorted incentives, investment banks are considering raising base salaries of top-paid employees whose bonuses were limited under the economic stimulus package enacted last month. The Wall Street Journal names Citigroup and Morgan Stanley as among institutions contemplating such a step. Wells Fargo recently raised the base salary of Chief Executive John Stumpf and two others.

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Dozens of boutiques are quietly hiring bond traders and sales people as they grow on top of the wreckage of former bulge-bracket institutions.

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GMAC Financial Services plans to add more than 200 jobs in Charlotte, N.C. The new slots are expected to include finance, risk management, accounting and corporate administration, at salaries averaging $96,600 a year. It's not clear how many of those positions will be moved out of GMAC's Detroit headquarters or its other major centers in New York, Fort Washington, Pa., and Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Grant Thornton is launching a hedge fund internal control, governance and regulatory compliance services unit, designed to help funds attract investors who might be wary of alternative investments. The group will also assist funds in preparing to face new regulations that are all but certain to come out of Washington.

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Structured credit analysts, take note: Credit rating firms may soon need your services again. The first deals backed by the Federal Reserve's new Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) reached the market last week. Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings, whose seal of approval is needed to sell such deals to investors, stand to earn as much as $240 million in revenue from the initial $200 billion phase of the TALF program.

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Mark Heuer turbo-charged his job search by attracting potential employers to his online resume through an outdoor billboard advertisement. But when asked how he'd advise job-seekers to stand out from the competition, he tells eFinancialCareers News, "The first key is to get away from your computer. I think you have to get out in the venues of networking."

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Canada is reclaiming David Rosenberg. Bank of America's chief North American economist, who held that role at Merrill Lynch for many years, reportedly will depart in May to join a Toronto-based private wealth management firm, Gluskin Sheff & Associates. Also set to leave B of A soon is Richard Bernstein, chief U.S. quantitative strategist. Bernstein is starting his own money management firm, according to Bloomberg News, which reported both moves.

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