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Top-tier bankers in ‘very high demand,’ says BofA head

Hiring

Hiring on Wall Street may not be robust, but if you’re a blue-chip banker, now may be the best time in a long time to be in the market, at least according to one investment banker in the know.

“The best people are in very high demand,” Christian Meissner, head of investment banking at Bank of America, told Bloomberg Television on Wednesday.

Was he spitting a cliché? Aren’t the best always in demand? Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker pushed him, asking just that. No, he said – there’s been a palpable shift from the depths of the crisis when even top talent was forced to the sidelines. Now, as the market stabilizes, suitors abound for the cream of the crop, particularly in the U.S. and within M&A.

Anecdotal evidence lends credence to Meissner’s thoughts. Competition for top talent has become a legitimate concern for some Wall Street banks. Financial News reported late last year that “alarm bells” have been ringing at banks over fear of losing top talent following bonus season, which just got underway. That makes sense. More than 70% of financial firms said they plan to increase recruitment activity in 2014, up from just 11% a year ago, according to the annual Outlook for Investment Banking Services.

So far, UBS is looking to hire a host of bankers, as is Nomura and Citigroup (in Mexico). Meissner said Bank of America has been hiring “selectively.” That’s likely the key term for 2014.

What Not to Do (eFinancialCareers)

A former recruiter and hiring manager outlines the five ways you can ensure that your resume will end up in the trash.

PIMCO Chief Departs (WSJ)

Mohamed El-Erian has stepped down as chief executive of asset management giant Pacific Investment Management Co., which has hemorrhaged client funds over the last year.  Several investment deputies will be named shortly to replace his role. Founder Bill Gross said he was shocked by the announcement.

Fidelity, Too (Bloomberg)

Ronald P. O’Hanley, the head of asset management at Fidelity Investments, is also stepping down. A yet-to-be-known internal successor will take his place.

Sad Face (Dealbreaker)

Credit Suisse communicated bonus plans to staffers yesterday. “No one looks particularly thrilled so far,” which makes sense. Credit Suisse cut average pay per head by 16% – more than any other bank except RBS.

Top Davos Quotes (eFinancialCareers)

Here are some of the most interesting banker quotes heard at the World Economic Forum over the last half-decade. Jamie Dimon, as always, shoots from the hip.

Out With the Big…(WSJ)

With regulators breathing down their neck, big banks are starting to pass on financing some big deals. This is bad for private equity funds, which need the cheap capital, but potentially good for securities dealers that can take the place of large banks.

Heart Attack (Reuters)

Bernie Madoff reportedly suffered a heart attack last month but has since returned from sick bay.

Buzz Around the Office

Ford Strikes Again (Gawker)

Here’s the latest episode of “Rob Ford Does Something Stupid.” Toronto’s mayor was videotaped at a steak house, unconsciously drunk, giving in unintelligible speech in a Jamaican accent.

Quote of the Day: “Yes banks we took too much risk…but we took much risk because the situation was such that everyone enjoyed the life, the governments, the regulators, the bankers…the people.” JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon at Davos last year.

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