eFC Briefing: Rising From the Rubble

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New boutiques are feasting on former bulge-brackets' top talent. Goldman Sachs indicates it's done with layoffs, but UBS unveils more.

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The picture of Wall Street's new order continues to fill out. New boutiques have hired "several hundred" bankers away from former bulge-bracket institutions since the summer of 2007, the New York Times reports. Boutiques it cites include Aladdin Capital, Broadpoint, Pinetum Capital, BTIG, Moelis & Co., and Research Edge. Each was launched since 2007. Broadpoint alone has hired more than 240 people since the fall of 2007. The shakeup reflects layoffs, government bailouts, forced mergers, compensation limits, and a dour long-term outlook for Wall Street's wounded titans. The former bulge brackets also are bleeding talent to established firms like LaBranche Financial Services, which are expanding their activities, and foreign-based institutions that avoided government bailouts, such as Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse.

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During this week's Goldman Sachs conference call, CFO David Viniar said the bank is now "sized appropriately for where the business is." Unless something very nasty happens, this seems to imply layoffs at Goldman are now passé. If so, Goldman bankers have had it easy. At 27,898, headcount at Goldman is down only 12.4 percent from its Q1 2008 peak. It's also up 24 percent on 2005. Compare that to the 30 percent of jobs Merrill Lynch and Bank of America are said to be cutting in London, and Goldman bankers look even more fortunate.

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Parting company with some banking leaders who've intimated the worst is over for their institutions, UBS's new chief executive unveiled plans to cut worldwide headcount 10 percent, or 7,500 jobs, by the end of next year. Oswald Grubel told the bank's annual general meeting that UBS will exit certain activities and locations, reduce risks and focus trading activities on client business. Helvea Analyst Peter Thorne forecasts headcount within the long-troubled investment banking division could shrink from 17,000 at present to the 10,000 - 12,000 range.

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Fearing discrimination lawsuits by spurned applicants, Amegy Bank of Texas has ordered internal and external recruiters to avoid sourcing any information about candidates from social networking sites. Its outside employment counsel concluded the bank wouldn't be able to prove it had rejected an applicant based on allowable information (such as sexually suggestive photos, or boasts about deceiving a customer or a boss) if the applicant's social networking profile also included information that isn't legal grounds for rejection, such as being pregnant.

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Also noted:

Morgan Stanley names managers for Smith Barney joint venture [InvestmentNews]

Fidelity's equity chief heads for Putnam (updated) [Pensions & Investments]

Fox orders real-life 'Someone's Gotta Go' layoff competition series [Reality TV World]

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