(Bloomberg News) Cantor Fitzgerald LP, the investment bank with a workforce of about 8,000, plans to add another 800 employees to its broker-dealer in coming years through acquisitions and hiring.

Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., the institutional broker-dealer that employs 1,600, would add workers, Shawn Matthews, the unit's chief executive officer, said today in a phone interview. The New York-based firm is expanding in asset management and investment banking, looking at regions including South America and Eastern Europe, Matthews said.

"We're just looking to get bigger and better at the things we do," said Matthews, 45. "There's a lot of opportunity for us to take advantage of."

Matthews said the 800 workers would be in addition to the 200 employees the firm is adding in 2012. The biggest U.S. banks have been retrenching amid stricter regulations and capital rules. Concern that U.S. economic growth will remain weak and the European sovereign-debt crisis may worsen have hurt earnings at larger banks.

Workers will be looking for alternatives beyond the biggest firms, Matthews said.

"They've historically thought, when times were bad, they assumed it would get good again and the compensation structure would go back to what it was," Matthews said. "People now are starting to understand that this is a new normal and the compensation structure has changed forever."

Dow Jones reported the expansion earlier today.