Goldman Sachs is hiring up to 60 people for its Moscow office, two months after receiving its first Russian securities brokerage licence.
The US investment bank has a large pipeline of deals, including next year's US$2bn (€1.5bn) flotation of state-owned Vneshtorgbank and the initial public offering of OGK-3, a subsidiary of the electricity monopoly.
However, Goldman faces stiff competition from local and international rivals in Moscow where there is a premium for talent. Headhunters said Lehman Brothers was hiring 20 people after it decided to return to the Russian market after an eight-year hiatus. ABN Amro Rothschild, which recently opened its Moscow office, is rumoured to be hiring a team from local brokerage Aton Capital.
Two headhunters working for Goldman said it was hiring heavily in equities as well as in debt capital markets and advisory services.
Goldman is also planning to hire corporate finance and support staff as part of the expansion. One headhunter said: "They are tiny at the moment but I believe they are going to hire about 200 bankers plus the necessary IT and back-office staff so they can compete with the likes of Renaissance and Troika." Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
Its decision to build organically in Moscow follows failed takeover talks last year with Aton Capital. Alla Bashenko, director and head of Russia at Goldman, is believed to be moving to Russia from London with other Russian-speaking staff.
The investment banking team is being led by Magomed Galaev, who left as Morgan Stanley's co-head of investment banking in Russia for Goldman in June.
Goldman last month bought a minority stake in Sequoia Credit Consolidation, Russia's leading debt collection agency.