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Buyback bloodbath

Investment banks could be awash with blood in these and coming weeks, say recruiters, as banks battle to restrain their staff from jumping ship.

"It can get really painful if both sides start kicking up a fuss," says Kevin Yeung, a recruiter at The Whitney Group in Hong Kong.

One recruiter tells a classic story from last year when the head of real estate at one American bank threatened to defect to a rival (he eventually did).

According to this recruiter, the head of investment banking at the time, got wind of his colleague's intentions. He then lay in wait for him for the next three days, meeting him at the entrance of the building in his Porsche to drive him home - haranguing and sweet-talking him in equal measure. The defector reportedly wasn't particularly impressed as the men had been neighbours for a while - and this was the first lift he'd got.

Ego plays a role too, with senior bankers furious at rivals for poaching their best staff.

The Whitney Group's Yeung warns that despite the drama of leave taking and moving, bankers should keep their wits about them.

"The turnover in this industry is crazy. Your boss will promise you anything to retain you: but remember, what is his word worth? He could be back in London in six months time.

There's a lot less damage if you think carefully, make a decision and follow it through."

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