Jefferies, Lehman, Morgan S, NatWest 3, Cowen , Soros

Jefferies & Co announced Thursday the hiring of three additional senior investment bankers into the firm's transportation, oil service and infrastructure group in New York and London. Anne-Cristin, Nick Davies and Andrew Meigh all come aboard as MDs, and all three join after stints at HSBC.

Bloomberg reports that Lehman Brothers reported its fourth-quarter profits Thursday. They came in up 22% at $1bn, after a strong performance from bond trading in the period. Revenues from investment banking and IPO underwriting were also up, while investment management revenues rose an impressive 26%. Lehman's shares have risen 19% this year, compared to a 32% gain at Merrill Lynch, 35% at Bear Stearns, 39% at Morgan Stanley and 55% at Goldman Sachs.

Morgan Stanley sold wealth unit Quilter to Citigroup for $451m as the unit did not fit in with the US firm's strategy of working with clients who have lots of dosh. According to The Times, Quilter's 18,000 clients have an average portfolio of about $610,000. Morgan Stanley, however, wants to focus on the 'high net-worth' end of the market (defined as folks with non-property assets of at least $5.9m), and ultra high-net worth individuals ($39m).

The Guardian reports that the US government is claiming that Gary Mulgrew, one of the so-called 'NatWest Three' in the dock over alleged Enron-related crimes, hid the true extent of his wealth when bail was set, and failed to disclose an American bank account. At issue appears to be $3.15m Mulgrew gave his ex-wife as part of his divorce settlement, and $60,000 he gave to his brother to purchase a house in Australia. Prosecutors are now saying that the banker transferred money to his adult relatives ahead of his arrest, and claim that that now makes him a flight risk.

The New York Post reports that US regulator The Securities and Exchange Commission has won its fight to fine former SG Cowen executive Guillaume Pollet, who is said to have made $4m from a series of illegal insider trades between 1999 and 2001. Pollet, who was canned by Cowen in 2001, currently lives in Switzerland. His fine will be determined by an Eastern District court judge.

Finally, Reuters reports that billionaire investor George Soros has now filed a claim with the European Court of Human Rights, as he bids to clear his name after being convicted for insider trading in connection with his 2002 dealings in the shares of French bank Societe Generale.

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