Ken Moelis is hiring

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First came the revelation that uber-banker Ken Moelis is opening a branch of his newish boutique in London, led by ex-Deutsche banker Kristian Bagger. Now we can confirm that Moelis is hiring some more people to accompany Bagger.

A source at Moelis & Co. says the company is recruiting an indeterminate number of people for its new London effort. The bad news is that it may be well on the way to filling some of the more senior positions already - one headhunter says Heidrick & Struggles has been working on the mandate since April.

Why work for Ken? Rather like Joe Perella or Tim Shacklock, he's something of a legend in his own time. Since leaving his post as president of UBS in March 2007, Moelis has built a force to be reckoned with: Moelis & Co. ranked 11th for announced M&A deals in the second quarter of 2008, ahead of Banc of America Securities and Wachovia.

Moelis's isn't the only boutique advisory firm sniffing around for staff. Headhunters say Fenchurch is also hiring "aggressively", and is particularly interested in hearing from FIG bankers. And an article in the Financial Times a few months ago showed healthy hiring at Greenhill, Hawkpoint, Evercore and Blackstone.

Jim Nairn at recruitment firm Cornell Partnership says quite a few advisory boutiques are upgrading and adding to headcount: "Unlike investment banks, they're not taking the hits to other parts of their business."