Maybe it's a harbinger, maybe it's not, but it certainly is heartening: British investment banks are raising salaries in a notably successful attempt to win back many of the traders and analysts they lost to boutique brokerage firms last year.
"They're doubling salaries and offering above-average compensation," Daryl Bowden, co-chief executive of ICAP's European and Asian equities unit, told Bloomberg News. "Banks today have limited risk so people can work there without fear." Recruiters tell the news service the UK's 50-percent bonus tax won't get in the way because it applies only to a single year's bonuses. Robert Iati of the New York research firm the Tabb Group called the movement "a boomerang effect."
While managing directors at smaller London brokerage houses are earning about $240,000 in base pay, Bloomberg says, MDs at large firms have seen their salaries double to around $480,000 in the last year. Observes Jason Kennedy, of the London recruitment firm Kennedy Associates: "When bonuses are a bit scarce, doubling the base salary is a big improvement. The brokers can't compete."
London's Investment Banks Double Pay to Lure Back City Talent [Bloomberg News]
For BofA Investment Bankers, Bonuses Likely Close to 2007 [WSJ]
Structured Loans Expected To Make A Comeback [FT]
Gundlach Sued by TCW Group After Starting Own Investment Firm [Bloomberg News]
Wilmington Trust's Wealth Management Chief: Regional Growth, No New Offices For in 2010 [Family Wealth Report]
Key takeaway: "Although Wilmington, which has $40 billion in assets under management, doesn't plan to open new offices, it will be beefing up its talent pool in markets such as Atlanta, Boston, New York and Los Angeles, (Executive VP Mark) Graham said. 'A lot of good people have become available,' he said."
Bubbles and the Banks [NY Times]
It's Paul Krugman. One key point: "Reform really should take on the financial industry's compensation practices. If Congress can't legislate away the financial rewards for excessive risk-taking, it can at least try to tax them."
Or, as ClusterStock headlined their own link to this Krugman essay: "How Do You Stop Bubbles? Start By Putting The Screws To Rich Bankers"
Weil Gotshal Gets Generous With Bonuses [LawFuel]