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Advanced headhunting

"Show me the money." The catchphrase that lit up Jerry Maguire, the Oscar-winning film about a sports' agent played by Tom Cruise, could soon have added resonance in financial markets.

According to Roddy Gow, managing partner of executive search firm LAI Ward Howell, in the near future top investment bankers will have their own version of a sports agent. A shadowy figure to plot and negotiate their inexorable rise to banking superstardom.

It's just part of the vision that LAI, the fifth largest executive search firm in the US, has for the future of headhunting, a business which is set for "a major shake-up", says Gow a former soldier.

Just as Jerry Maguire had his "mission statement" for how sports agents should run their business (with more sensitivity to the general well-being of the client) so LAI has its own revolutionary manifesto: "We will understand our clients' business better than the best market analyst that tracks their stock," claims Gow.

The firm will be headed by Robert Flohr, himself headhunted from rival Korn/Ferry, and he says he will be aiming to build "a dealing room environment" in the company's as yet unidentified new offices.

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