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Executive Search: Laid-Off Wall Street Workers Branch Out
Bear Stearns, where Walter worked, was facing bankruptcy before being acquired in May by J.P. Morgan Chase, which fired 55 percent of Bear's 14,000 employees. Lehman Brothers Holdings has eliminated 6,390 employees and Citigroup has cut 14,100, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
"The most affected areas are structured finance, [collateralized debt obligations] and mortgages," said Arturo Cifuentes, managing director of New York-based R.W. Pressprich, which trades derivatives. "Over one-third of jobs in this area are gone for the next five or 10 years."
Gary Witt left as a managing director in structured finance at Moody's Investors Service to teach finance and statistics at Temple University in Philadelphia.
"It's hard to say if things were going well, would I have left," said Witt, 49. "It didn't look like the industry would be any fun for the next few years."
Moody's, the oldest credit-ratings company, eliminated 275 jobs, or 7.5 percent of its workforce, to cope with a plunge in bond sales that sliced revenue from rating debt.
Bond salesmen and traders are trying jobs as varied as bartending and real estate sales so they can make insurance and tuition payments for their families, Maloney said.
"I know a few guys that started gambling, playing poker to pay the bills," he said. "Especially ex-traders."
Joshua Persky took to the streets after being laid off as an investment banker at Los Angeles-based Houlihan Lokey. He strolled New York's Park Avenue in June wearing a sandwich board reading "Experienced MIT Grad For Hire."
"It's been slow and frustrating," said Persky, 48. "The only places to turn are hedge funds and boutique banks. I've never been unemployed this long."
While his gambit generated some job leads, none has panned out so far, Persky said. He's considering a move to Omaha.