The midtown Manhattan office of bankrupt brokerage MF Global is half-filled. But the people who are there are dressed much more formally than usual.
Before the bankruptcy, MF Global employees dressed in the standard stuffy-side of business casual that is ubiquitous at Wall Street firms. For men, this means a well-pressed dress shirt with the collar open, slacks and shiny shoes.
But these days people are increasingly showing up to the office in suits, when they show up at all.
Because they are going on job interviews. With the firm now in its second week of bankruptcy, everyone who works at MF Global is looking for a job.
There is frustration at the firm, especially among client-facing employees. Many of the accounts at MF Global have been frozen by a court order, to the great consternation of MF Global’s clients. The brokers at the firm want to stay on good terms with the customers they serve, hoping to keep them when they land a spot at another firm.
But keeping the customers happy is tough when their funds are frozen.
Many of the traders at the firm are coming in hours later than they once did. They aren’t really trading much these days, except liquidation trades. There’s no potential for scoring a big bonus.
Some of the senior-level people have been forming alliances, hoping they can convince other firms that hope to scoop up MF Global’s business to hire them in groups.
Which brings to mind what could be MF Global’s new tagline. “MF Global: Suitable Trading.”
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