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Foreign Exchange

Head-hunters: Portakabins down at the Wharf

In this age of electronic trading, few market particpants have any idea of the identities of their peers at other institutions, but the head-hunters do.

I got a phone call from a head-hunter mucker on Tuesday, who was understandably extremely busy. “What you up to then?” I asked.

“I’m just about to plug the Portakabin I’ve had put up outside Lehman’s into the electricity supply,” he replied. And for a moment he had me going. Of course, there have been mutterings about how the recruitment industry swooped like vultures on to a corpse, but that is doing it a big disservice. In this age of electronic trading, few market particpants have any idea of the identities of their peers at other institutions, but the head-hunters do.

And why should anyone begrudge a head-hunter earning money if he finds employment for anyone who’s lost their job? I for one was glad to hear that Barclays had bought Lehman’s North American investment banking and trading unit and saved a good number of jobs. Staff there will be thanking Bob the Diamond Geezer profusely. It’s to be hoped that the head-hunters camped outside at Canary Wharf and around Times Square will find new employment for many of the others.

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