Fairytale New Year in structured credit sales?

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Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most highly desired of them all? Structured credit sales specialists, according to some headhunters.

"There will be at least 150 vacancies in the structured credit sales market next year," says one derivatives-focused headhunter. "In 2005 and 2006, a lot of banks built up their structuring and origination capabilities; 2007 will be the year for increasing the distribution side," he adds.

Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, Calyon, Dresdner Kleinwort, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Wachovia are all said to be rustling their chequebooks. So too, apparently, are established players such as JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank.

"There are aggressive expansion plans outside the big four or five," says the headhunter. "The big players are acutely aware of this and bonus pools will be 10-20% up on last year."

Shaun Springer, chief executive of Napier Scott, said the 150 additions were 'feasible' given institutions' hiring plans: "Everyone is going through expansion, so clearly there will not be enough talent to go around. There may be a need to import people from outside the UK as well - perhaps the buyside and the agencies."

As in every fairytale, however, there are obstacles en route to fame and fortune. Two headhunters told us that the notion that 150 sales staff would be added in structured credit was too good to be true. "We do have clients asking us for a lot of people, but 150 is way too high," said one, while the other claimed total ignorance of the predicted hiring boom.

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