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Where have all the bankers gone?

February 22, 2010 |  1:18 pm

The social networking site LinkedIn has done some neat analysis of where all the bankers went when Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch got in trouble during the financial crisis. The results are unexpected.


Although investment bank Bear Stearns, for instance, was bought by JPMorgan Chase, it appears that a significant number of employees jumped to Credit Suisse and Barclays, which also have investment bank operations.

Barclays bought the remnants of Lehman Brothers after the storied investment bank was forced into bankruptcy. More broadly, according to the LinkedIn data, Barclays was the most active bank in taking in refugees during the crisis. It took in 10% of all the people who switched firms. The next in line, Credit Suisse and Citi, took in only 1.5% and 1.1%, respectively. This may be part of the reason the British-based Barclays last week reported such strong earnings in 2009 from its investment bank division. 

LinkedIn, which is popular among finance types, took advantage of the fact that it had the past and present employment status of all its members. The site's "data scientists" combed through all the people who had been at the three troubled banks that went bankrupt or were taken over in 2008 -- and then figured out where they were now. The site does not provide any exact numbers on who made the moves, but the analysis points to the illuminating data social networking sites can provide.

Although all the big banks appear to have taken in some refugees, one bank is notably missing from the chart: Goldman Sachs. The LinkedIn analysis suggests Goldman, known for its carefully chosen staff, may have avoided going on a hiring spree during the crisis.

-- Nathaniel Popper