Bloomberg News

NEW YORK - Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc., the seventh-biggest U.S. securities firm by capital, has the fastest-growing workforce in the sector.

According to data from Bloomberg, Donaldson has about 11,300 employees, nearly double the number of four years ago. Merrill Lynch & Co. has 70,700 employees, the most among securities firms.

The hiring reflects a boom in U.S. investment banking amid the biggest bull market on record. Morgan Stanley's staff has grown by 75%, to 57,989, since 1996 as its profits more than doubled. Merrill Lynch's head count rose 42%.

DLJ's growth has come at a price: Its compensation costs accounted for 54.6% of net revenue in the second quarter, more than any major firm after PaineWebber Group Inc.'s 59.5%. That compares with 50% at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., 44% at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., and 51.4% at Merrill Lynch.

Still, each additional employee is generating more profits. At DLJ net income per employee rose to $59,000 last year, from $36,000 in 1995. At Merrill profits per employee were $39,000, against $24,000 in 1995.

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