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Executive Moves

JPMorgan Tries to Keep Top-Producing Bear Staff

Since JPMorgan Chase began talks about buying out Bear Stearns on March 16, Morgan scouts have been "all over" Bear's staff, looking for the best and brightest members.

In much the same way that the United States and Russia gathered up all the best German scientists during and after World War II, the world's top investment banks are eager to offer a home to Bear's refugees.

JPMorgan CEO James Dimon reportedly met with hundreds of Bear Stearns executives and proposed lucrative bonuses to those employees who agreed to stay with Morgan after the buyout receives approval from shareholders.

"At this point in my career, I'm not worried about my job," one top Bear executive told MME Wednesday in Boston. "If you live your life with integrity and do the best, most honest job you can, others will recognize your importance. There will always be a need for talented individuals in this world."

Crowe Joins MetLife

Kevin Crowe has joined MetLife Investors Distribution Company as managing director for the annuity bank channel.

He comes to MetLife from John Hancock, where he served as bank channel chairman. Crowe will report to Paul Sylvester, national sales manager of the Annuities and Long-Term Care Division.

Crowe has more than 40 years of experience in the financial services industry, and is known for founding the annuity and insurance marketing company Essex Corp. in 1981.

Bernake's Future in Limbo As Recession Now Reality

The majority of economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal say the U.S. has finally slid into a recession, and while many are still supportive of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, some question whether his time is up.

"The evidence [that the U.S. is now in a recession] is now beyond a reasonable doubt," said Scott Anderson of Wells Fargo. Anderson was among the 71% of 51 respondents who said the recession is here. The Commerce Department just announced that retail sales dropped 0.6% in February, reflecting a steep downturn in consumer spending. Twenty of the economists surveyed said they expect payrolls to shrink and the unemployment rate to rise.

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