Stuck at ABN AMRO

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Thinking of moving on from ABN? Think again.

All the banks advising ABN on the proposed takeover of the group, plus Barclays Capital which is up against the consortium led by RBS to purchase it, have agreed not to pinch ABN's staff, according to Financial News.

Banks on the blacklist for restless staff include Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, UBS and Deutsche Bank.

Surprisingly perhaps, Mark Horlock, a consultant at search firm Akamai Financial, says employees at the Dutch house aren't overly cheesed off to find their options closed. "They really aren't that frustrated," he says. "The more senior ones have been offered lock-ins and, if anything, most of them think a merger will benefit them - particularly if it's with Barclays Capital, which will mean less duplication."

Headhunters say the ABN lock-ins amount to guaranteed bonuses, with up to 50% paid in deferred stock over two to three years.

Alex Williams, a consultant at search firm Pelham International, says ABN's no-poaching agreements are a cunning move. "There are definitely other banks that would be interested in those staff," he says.

Unlike Horlock, Williams says ABN's bankers are probably "quite frustrated". This undoubtedly applies to at least one ABN banker, who quit to join Morgan Stanley, according to the Sunday Times, only to find the offer withdrawn after he'd handed in his notice.

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