Sign of the times: Morgan Stanley to hire many bankers

It was just a year ago that large Wall Street firms and banks could not fire people fast enough. The industry was in such deep trouble that it had to cut costs wherever it could.

The problem that many of the financial giants face now is that some of their businesses have roared back as stock and debt markets have recovered more quickly than most expected when these markets hit bottom in the spring.

A few operations like Goldman Sachs (GS) had the staff and appetite for risk to take advantage of the positive turn. That showed in the company's recent soaring earnings. Banks that did worse in the second quarter may have been simply caught by surprise.

Whatever the reason, Wall Street is back in a hiring mood. According toThe Wall Street Journal, "Morgan Stanley is in a hiring push that will add as many as 400 trading and sales positions as it tries to revive profits in areas such as fixed-income trading, emerging markets and foreign exchange."

Firms like Morgan Stanley (MS) are ever fickle in their hiring and retention of people. The markets could turn again if the recession drags or a fresh crisis crops up overseas.

That does not seem to matter to the Morgan. It will make money while it can and fire people again if it needs to. That is why "bankers" are overpaid. Their life expectancy can be very short.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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