SMALLER City financial firms are frantically headhunting top-tier staff who have become casualties of cost-saving job cuts at giants like Credit Suisse, HSBC and Dresdner Kleinwort.<br /><br />Firms such as Arbuthnot Securities, Blue Oar and Panmure Gordon are scrambling to emerge from the recession with higher profiles by grabbing seasoned talent on lower salaries than ever, before recovery takes hold and the big banks stop cutting staff.<br /><br />Arbuthnot Securities chief executive Neil Kirton told City A.M he hopes new high-profile hires will make Randgold Resources, recently signed as a client at the firm, the first of many FTSE 100 clients for the group.<br /><br />Kirton said he has quietly completed a major staff turnover at Arbuthnot since taking over, offloading many of its former staff who had no experience at major banks. <br /><br />They have been replaced with hires including Jean Roche – with four years’ experience as an analyst at Morgan Stanley – and Nick Tulloch, a former managing director at Altium who has worked as an analyst at Cazenove. <br /><br />And analyst Gerald Khoo recently joined from Credit Suisse after previously establishing the transport sector franchise at Oriel Securities. <br /><br />Blue Oar has snapped up mining analyst Shamim Mansoor, who was formerly at HSBC and Investec, as part of ongoing efforts to reel in talent from major firms. <br /><br />Hedge fund tycoon Bertrand des Pallieres, the founder of SPQR Capital who was trumped in buying a stake in Panmure Gordon by QInvest last month, had hinged his bid on a pledge to boost Panmure by attracting talent from bigger rivals. <br /><br />And London-based small-cap Evolution Securities recently hired 45 trading staff from Dresdner Kleinwort, after Commerzbank bought the bank and set about slimming it down.