Morgan Stanley plans hiring spree: source

NEW YORK Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:37pm EDT

A man walks into the Morgan Stanley building in New York, April 29, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

A man walks into the Morgan Stanley building in New York, April 29, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley (MS.N) is planning to hire as many as 400 traders and salespeople, a hiring spree that comes as the firm tries to dig its way out of three straight quarters of losses.

About half have already been hired to work across sales and trading, a source familiar with the plan said. Morgan Stanley wants the workers for its foreign exchange, emerging markets and equity derivatives businesses, the source said.

The hirings come after Morgan Stanley reported a second-quarter loss, while longtime rival Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) reported strong earnings.

Bringing in hundreds of new hires could help Morgan Stanley better compete against Goldman in the lucrative, but risky world of trading.

After last fall's meltdown of the banking sector, Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack steered the firm away from risky investments that led to the demise of some of its competitors.

When trading opportunities picked up in the second quarter, Goldman Sachs took advantage and Morgan Stanley did not.

For example, Morgan Stanley's second-quarter fixed-income profit was $973 million. Even though the results were dragged down by a $1.3 billion loss related to improving spreads on its own credit, they still were dwarfed by the $6.8 billion fixed-income profit that Goldman Sachs reported.

Two days before it announced its second-quarter loss, Morgan Stanley hired Jack DiMaio as global head of interest rate, credit and currency trading, to address its fixed-income performance. DiMaio once headed fixed income for North America at Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.VX).

(Reporting by Steve Eder. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

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