Two equity derivatives traders in Merrill Lynch's proprietary trading group in New York have left the desk. Jason Harkavy and Omar Brown, both managing directors trading volatility arbitrage and convertible arbitrage, respectively, have moved out of the firm's strategic risk group, said an official. It could not be determined whether they have left the firm or are assuming new roles in the organization. Neither Harkavy nor Brown could be reached and Michael DuVally, spokesman in New York, declined comment.
While the traders are not yet thought to have been replaced, their departure from the group, which comprises both debt and equity proprietary trading, does not necessarily indicate a reduced effort in the overall group, according to an official. It could just be a shift in trading strategies, he explained. Last year Merrill shook up the group by ceasing to trade statistical arbitrage and scaling down its volatility and convertible arbitrage presence (DW, 1/13/03). It later hired Alan Galishoff, head of CMO trading and origination at JPMorgan, for a new position as a proprietary mortgage arbitrageur (1/29/03). The recent changes may represent a shift toward other trading strategies, the official speculated.