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Cantor Fitzgerald Announces Ambitious Hiring Plans, Poised to Poach Bankers Disgruntled Over Salary Cuts

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It has not been a great 12 months for employees on Wall Street. Big banks like Goldman Sachs (GS), Morgan Stanley (MS), Citigroup (C), Credit Suisse (CS), Barclays (BCS) and Dow Jones (^DJI) component Bank of America (BAC) all initiated cost-cutting layoffs in 2011 that shed over 200,000 jobs.
And for those who survived the cuts, they will find that their 2011 bonus packages will be the smallest since the 2008 financial crisis, as banks attempt to adjust to lower investment banking revenues.
However, even in the depressed Wall Street labor market, the old adage still holds: When one door closes, another opens. In the hyper-competitive banking sector, where talent fetches a big premium, when banks slash compensation packages across the board, a window of opportunity opens up for enterprising firms to snatch rainmakers at a bargain price.
“When all is said and done, the bankers and traders themselves are commodities. While most underperformers, and the ones responsible for the softer profits, are laid off, the ones who were 'carrying the load' and having relatively stellar years still need to be paid or else a competitor can easily come in and one-up a lowball bonus. It's a very transparent market - everyone knows each other and everyone talks,” a 27 year-old associate at a midsized investment bank had explained to me.

And so the first bank to attempt to capitalize on this buyer’s market of Wall Street employees is New York-based Cantor Fitzgerald and its BGC Partners unit.
According to Bloomberg, CEO Howard Lutnick announced that Cantor will hire some 200 people while BGC Partners will add 300 to 400 staff members.
“These markets give us the opportunity to hire people you never thought would leave the big firms,” he said. “We are in a sweet spot.”
High-profile examples of bankers who were poached by firms offering higher salaries include Ben Lorello, who left UBS (UBS) to join Jefferies (JEF) for a $50 million, 2 year guarantee and Steve Trauber, who Citi lured away from UBS with a reported $30 million, 3 year package. We’ll see if Lutnick will make any such headline-worthy hires.
(See also: Are Wall Street's Massive Pay Cuts Fair?)
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.