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Hedgeweek Comment: Big time to small time

Alas! The day has come when bosses once at the helm of the world's largest financial institutions are now taking up lower-profile posts in lesser-known businesses. For example, Stan O'Neal, the first big-name casualty of the credit crunch, is reported to be considering joining Vision Capital Advisors, a small hedge fund and private equity group.

This would mark a return to the financial industry for the former chief executive of Merrill Lynch. The Financial Times reported on Friday that O'Neal, who left Merrill a year ago with a pay-out estimated at USD161m, was looking at a number of options in addition to Vision and had not yet made up his mind.

Chuck Prince, who stepped down as chief executive of Citigroup shortly after O'Neal's departure from Merrill, joined Stonebridge International, a strategic consulting firm, as vice-chairman. It is certainly a good post, but not in the same league as being the head of the world's biggest bank.

What is the moral of this story? If top executives are taking a massive step down in their job status, where does this leave the average Joe? The full impact of job losses on the financial industry is not yet known, but one can take a guess. It will be a long time before the reverberations from this financial devastation cease.

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