It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas on Wall Street, and as banking companies increasingly find themselves seeking to attract and retain investment talent, some are turning to tools more commonly used by Wall Street rivals.

Beyond distributing bonuses - which on Wall Street are expected to beat last year's levels by at least 20% to 30% - some are offering key staff members the opportunity to co-invest in high-return private equity funds established by the bank. CIBC World Markets, the U.S. investment banking arm of the Canadian bank, is the latest institution to offer merchant banking opportunities. It is in the final stages of a plan to set up a Wall Street Street-style co-investment program, according to a CIBC source.

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