Baird and Jefferies in Growth Mode

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Bucking the trend, investment banking, private equity, wealth and asset management firm Baird continued to add to its headcount during the past five years, even when the overall securities industry hemorrhaged positions. According to Baird, the firm increased employment more than 25 percent overall during the time period, and it expanded the investment banking team by 75 percent.

The firm also reported the addition of hundreds of financial advisors and the opening of more than 20 private wealth management offices during the time period. More than 40 percent of the new hires in the past five years were at the director level or above.

In Baird’s just-released annual report, the firm’s 2011 overall revenues were $925 million, up 9 percent from 2010. Baird’s investment banking business reported one of the largest jumps, with revenues up nearly 50 percent from 2010. Since the beginning of 2012, the firm has made a number of strategic hires, including in investment banking. In January, Baird appointed Paul Bail, former director of debt advisory-private equity transactions at Investec Bank, to serve as managing director to its investment banking team in London.

The company has plans to continue adding “senior talent in Europe” throughout 2012. In a press release, the firm noted that they were especially on the lookout for “seasoned, sell side-oriented bankers in London and Frankfurt, with deep private equity relationships and/or sector knowledge in our core areas of focus—industrials, business services, consumer and technology.”

Jefferies in the Great White North

Jefferies is also expanding operations, opening an investment banking business in Canada, according to a report from Bloomberg. Former Credit Suisse banker Steven Latimer is set to lead the new venture, the news report notes. He previously served as a director for Credit Suisse in metals and mining investment banking in Canada.

Jefferies is also on an aggressive hiring path, having hired away prominent personnel from UBS, Citi and Goldman Sachs. Top Internet company analysts Brian Fitzgerald and Brian Pitz were hired away from UBS. Jefferies also recently hired Rohit Bansal to lead distressed and special situations trading, after formerly serving as head of distressed debt trading for Citigroup, according to Businessweek.

News reports are also indicating the firm is set to add additional personnel, but this time on the foreign exchange side. Jefferies recently announced the hiring of former Goldman Sachs managing director Benjamin Welsh to serve as the global head of foreign exchange. He previously served as managing director of Goldman Sachs's global commodities division.

Jefferies also announced the opening of an office at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), after the firm received approval from the Dubai Financial Services Authority. According to the firm, Jefferies increased its headcount to 3,851 employees internationally as of February 29, 2012 as compared to 3,082 employees at February 28, 2011, representing a 25 percent jump in staff.

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