A survey conducted by New York based fixed-income recruiter Anastasia Carroll, based on responses from bond executives at 56 buy- and sell-side firms, concludes that the strongest job demand is likely to be for those versed in structured finance and debt origination this year. Perhaps most importantly to bond market players, the majority of respondents are looking to use the balance of the first quarter to build up their departments. She speculates that this will be easy, given the amount of dislocation still prevalent after the spate of mergers in 2000.
The weakest demand, she predicts, will be for bond strategists and economists. She also notes that 75% of the respondents indicate they are trying to restructure their fixed-income departments, although she sees this as difficult, given that so many have hiring freezes in place, at least through the first quarter.
Carroll says that many respondents are now expressing the belief that bond industry concerns over both the economic slowdown and the aftermath of Sept. 11 are passing, and that top performers in many asset classes will be a source of competition.
Carroll says 64% of the respondents acknowledged having made some cutbacks in fixed-income by the end of 2001, and that 23% agreed with the statement: "our firm pretty much took our fixed-income people for granted." U.S. based bulge-bracket dealers continue to be the greatest consumers of fixed-income talent, but foreign owned firms operating in the U.S. have quickly closed what was once a sizable gap.