Is working for Liberum Capital now a more appealing prospect?

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Cast your mind back, and you may remember the struggles of Liberum Capital - the boutique investment bank born on the cusp of the financial crisis in September 2007 - and the issues it faced last year keeping star analysts away from the grips of high-paying bulge brackets.

This year, it's already taken steps to address this, having increased its salary cap from 100k to 150k and rolled out a quarterly performance-based cash bonus and equity scheme.

The first half of this year has been rather successful for the boutique bank, having reported revenues of 20m - a 64% increase on the same period in 2009.

But, looking at the (ever loved) average payout per employee last year, it's not difficult to see why staff would have been lured across to the larger players.

It employed an average of 108 staff at the end of 2009, paying 164.6k per head in wages and salaries. Of course, this was unlikely to be spread evenly - 78 staff were in the front office, while 24 were employed in back office and support roles. Liberum also had six directors.

By comparison, Goldman paid an average of $498k (318k) and JP Morgan shelled out $379k (242k) per head.

But with compensation likely to be down at the bigger players last year, boutiques like Liberum could be more appealing.

Certainly, it's managed to attract staff across from the larger players this year. Most recently, Naresh Chouhan joined as a pharma analyst from JP Morgan earlier this month. Pablo Zuanic also switched from the US bank to cover European large cap consumer staples.

In January, Peter Hyde joined as head of research from Credit Suisse.

Liberum also tapped JP Morgan Casenove for its new convertibles desk, having hired Simon Smith to lead the team and Peter Turner and Richard Tomblin for trading and sales roles respectively.

The bank has also come good on its claims that it was still hiring.

In the last two months alone, it's taken on Paul Beumont and Mark Widdowson for sales trading roles, Simon Warrener for its execution team and Ash Lazenby as an analyst for mining, resources and energy.

This year its research team has also been bolstered by Daniel Horwood, Ben Bourne, Alexia Dogani and Mark James.

It currently employs around 130 people in London and New York.

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