Morgan Stanley chief executive John Mack recently told associates that global economic turmoil, which has resulted in 75,000 job losses in the U.S. financial sector alone, represents a historic occasion to recruit employees.
After cutting 4,800 jobs earlier this year – or 10 percent of its workforce – Mack, it seems, is ready to seize that opportunity and go on a hiring binge, according to a Financial Times report.
With the roughly $1 billion Morgan Stanley saved via job cuts, Mack is ready to hire top bankers, traders and risk managers. Morgan Stanley employees told the Times that Mack has already spent about $400 million to that end.
They add that Mack could spend another $600 million on new recruits by year's end.
One high-profile hire is Luc Francois, the former head of equities at Societe Generale, who will head equity derivatives and European equities at Morgan Stanley.
"At Morgan Stanley Luc will help the firm build on its considerable momentum in equity derivatives, which is a key strategic focus for us," a bank spokesman said, according to a Reuters report.
And James Brown, the former Merrill Lynch head of commodities risk management, will anchor Morgan Stanley's global commodities risk, a newly created post.
The strategic hires are seen as a way for Morgan Stanley to reposition itself amidst an rapidly changing market jolted by the credit crunch.
"It's wise for banks with good financial positions to build up their teams opportunistically,'' Andy Mantel, managing director of Pacific Sun Investment Management Ltd. in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News. "There will be lots of investment opportunities with all the market turmoil."