Who's hiring investment bankers?

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It's not all doom, gloom and putrefaction. Quite a few places are actually hiring.

If you're a footloose investment banker, you're liable to be spoilt for choice right now - just as long as you've given up all hope of working for Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan, Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Credit Suisse, or anywhere else with pretensions to be an all-encompassing global financial powerhouse.

Instead, both recruiters and bankers who've been wafting around the market point to an abundance of second-tier institutions willing to ingest floating talent.

The latest to open its doors is Jefferies, which revealed yesterday that it had embraced two former CIBC bankers and someone who'd recently been running his own boutique.

Earlier this month it emerged that Hawkpoint had also hoovered up an entire energy team from Bank of America.

Meanwhile, we're told that CIBC, Gleacher Shacklock, Houlihan Lokey, Lazard, Lexicon Partners, McQueen, Kaupthing, RBC, Stamford Partners and Tricorn Partners are all hiring corporate financiers, as, we hear, are Macquarie Bank and BNP Paribas - both of which do aspire to be global powerhouses, but aren't American.

One banker who found his way into a smaller house after being let go by one of the big players says it was surprisingly painless: "I was quite reassured by how much there was out there. I was only out of employment for two weeks."

"A lot of boutiques are open for business," confirms Nathan Luckas at search firm Kinsey Allen. "But there is a slight question over how many people they'll actually hire when the dust settles."