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Cantor expands debt markets business

While most Wall Street firms responded to the current credit crunch by cutting hundreds of fixed-income jobs, Cantor Fitzgerald LP Chief Executive Howard Lutnick told Reuters on Monday his firm is hiring debt salesmen and traders.

Cantor, one of the world’s largest bond brokerages, has been bulking up a debt trading business that currently has about 200 professionals. The closely held firm has been adding about five new sales and trading staff a week, Lutnick said at the Reuters Finance Summit in New York.

„We are looking for specialized people, people who have relationships with customers. We are hiring about five a week, so we are more popular now than most (firms),” he said. Last week, for example, Cantor hired Dean Schultz of RBC Dain Rauscher for its fixed-income sales and trading team. As part of the news announcement, Cantor’s credit sales head, Larry Haag, posted his phone number and encouraged traders to contact him.

A meltdown in mortgage markets over the summer has triggered a broader credit crunch that has slashed the value of asset-backed bonds, collateralized debt obligations and corporate buyout loans. The crunch has slowed the underwriting and trading of many kinds of debt. By the same token, it is also creating opportunities. (The full text at Reuters)