Bailout-Free Banks Poach Rivals' Talent

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Add Barclays Capital and Nomura Securities International to the list of upstarts draining revenue producers away from Wall Street rivals shackled by government-imposed pay restrictions.

Free from the controls governments are slapping on bailed-out banks, London-based Barclays and Tokyo-based Nomura continue to hire seasoned bankers, traders and researchers, Bloomberg News reports.

The poaching is far from over. Since picking up bankrupt Lehman Brothers' U.S. operations a year ago, Barclays has added 750 equities professionals in Europe and Asia and reportedly plans to hire another 30 M&A bankers in Europe. Nomura, which acquired Lehman's operations in Europe, boosted its U.S. workforce by about 36 percent since March, according to Bloomberg. Nomura's latest senior-level hire is Jens Nordvig, former Goldman Sachs currency strategist.

Competitive Compensation is Key

Unlike most competitors, Nomura and Barclays never took government money. "Banks that haven't been bailed out by the government are in a very good position to hire the most talented bankers," Shaun Springer, chief executive officer of London compensation consultant Square Mile Services Ltd., told Bloomberg. "They're paying rates that state-funded banks are being pressured into not paying."

Springer observes bailed-out banks' ability to pay competitive salaries and bonuses is hamstrung by "the political clamor that will accompany large payouts."

Nomura has hired teams of professionals in global program trading, derivatives trading and quantitative analytics and systematic trading. The U.S. equity expansion plan is a key component of Nomura's strategic goal to be the number one global liquidity provider in equities.

"Nomura's situation is unique compared to other banks as we remain an independent institution and have not taken any taxpayer's money," the bank told Bloomberg. "[We have] been mindful to ensure our approach to remuneration is competitive. These elements have been fundamental to our success in attracting top talent."

Senior professionals who've joined the Japanese bank include:

- Ciaran O'Kelly, former Bank of America Corp. head of global equities, now in charge of U.S. equities.

- Jeffrey Michaels, formerly Citigroup's head of North American rates trading, now co-head of fixed income for North America.

- Jim McCormick, former Citigroup head of FX and local markets strategy, now head of fixed-income research for Europe.

- Peter Meurer, former vice chairman Citi Australia, now chairman of investment banking in Australia.

Barclay's meanwhile has picked up:

- Thomas King, former Citi head of Banking for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), now co-head of corporate finance.

- Ashley Wilson, former BofA head of global market financing and services EMEA.

- Sam Dean, former Deutsche Bank AG, now co-head of global equity markets EU.

- Howard Spooner, former Goldman Sachs trading specialist, now in charge of EU equity trading.

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