The Moscow drool

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Like oligarchs' wives, banks in Russia are shopping - and they're paying three times more for salespeople and traders than in London.

"I placed a few institutional equities salespeople in Russia last year and they told me they're earning up to three times what they made in London," says Elvira Muratova, head of emerging markets at search firm Napier Scott.

According to Moratova, an institutional salesperson at a bank in Russia can easily guarantee a minimum package of US$1m in the first year. "The thing about Russian guarantees is that they're the least you'll get," she explains. "In London, you'll get what you're guaranteed and no more."

It's easy to lose track of who's hiring in Russia, there are so many of them. Hans-Joerg Rudloff, chairman of the securities unit at Barclays, was quoted last week on Bloomberg saying the bank planned to open a local presence in Moscow this year and to '"expand it quickly to 200 people." Goldman's also said to be adding around 25 salespeople and traders; JP Morgan has reportedly hired a team of analysts, traders and institutional sales people from Russia's MDM Bank; and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has just applied for a banking licence in the country. Russian banks such as Troika Dialog and Renaissance Capital are also queueing up for staff.

The most sought-after candidates are for interest rates, FX derivatives, commodities and institutional sales teams - particularly those selling Russian products to European institutional investors.

Olga Selivanova, a Russian specialist at search firm Morgan Hunt, says most banks are busily poaching staff from local competitors, rather than bringing in expats. Little surprise, therefore, that pay is rising rapidly - it's usual to move for a 50% to 60% rise.

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