Unsold Lehman units face IT staff challenge

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the administrator for collapsed bank Lehman Brothers, faces a tough challenge winding down the IT departments in the parts of the bank that have not been sold, according to analysts.

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But in the current climate it would not be easy for the IT staff at Lehman to find another job that uses their advanced skills, the analysts said. Recent research has often highlighted the limited job opportunities in the market.

There was less of a slowdown in the private equity sector as those firms snap up financial institutions in other parts of the market, said Peter Segal, principal at technology executive search firm Ogilvie. “With all the work they’re doing, and all the regulation, there’s a motivation for them to invest in IT,” he said. “And there's investment in other places with heavy regulation, including healthcare.”

Ralph Silva, senior analyst at Tower Group, said that even with the loss of 750 jobs as the fixed income arm is wound down, administrator PwC would still be looking for a buyer before all the trades are wound down. “They’re likely to maintain the division and keep the lights on until a buyer appears,” he said.

The leading-edge technology in place at Lehman would also be highly desirable in itself for potential buyers, he said. With the tightening economic situation and the heightened emphasis on algorithmic trading, where mathematical formulae read market data and trade accordingly, Lehman’s sophisticated algorithms and processing capabilities would be valuable.

“Lehman Brothers was one of the fastest processing organisations in the world,” he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of value in their networks, which were built to an extremely high standard.”

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