Bonus, guarantees lure bankers back to Wall St

Written by Bloomberg | Updated: Jun 30 2010, 04:11am hrs
Leverage is back on Wall Streetand this time its the bankers who have it.

Firms are adding jobs for the first time in two years, rebuilding businesses cut during the financial crisis and offering guaranteed payouts to lure top bankers. In New York, 6,800 financial-industry positions were added from the end of February through May, the largest three-month increase since 2008, according to the New York State department of labour.

Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc are among banks that are hiring to replenish their ranks, while Nomura Holdings Inc and Jefferies Group Inc have been recruiting talent from larger firms in a bid to increase their standing on Wall Street. Candidates are now getting multiple offers, and companies risk losing their desired candidates if they dont act quickly enoughand thats a real change, said Constance Melrose, managing director of eFinancialCareers Ltd., which has seen a 75% rise in investment banking jobs posted on its website from a year earlier.

The removal of uncertainty regarding Congresss financial reform Bill may reinforce the hiring rebound. A deal reached by members of a House and Senate conference last week diluted provisions from the tougher Senate bill, limiting rather than prohibiting the ability of federally insured banks to trade derivatives and invest in hedge funds or private-equity funds.

Five of the largest banks on Wall StreetBank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanleyincreased their total headcount in the first quarter, the first three-month jump since the start of 2009, when Bank of America purchased Merrill Lynch & Co. The five banks posted combined net income of $16.2 billion in the first quarter, and three reported record fixed-income trading revenue. It was the highest combined profit for the banks since the second quarter of 2007.

New York City had 4,29,000 financial jobs as of May 31, up from 4,22,200 in February, according to the department of labour data. Thats still down from the peak of 4,73,800 in August 2007, the data show. The overall mood on Wall Street is significantly better than it was last year, said Richard Lipstein, a managing director at Boyden Global Executive Search Ltd in New York. Hiring comes down to what products are increasingly active, and there has been some pent-up demand for people, and that demand follows increased optimism.