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Merrill's Latest Equity Departures Take London Total To Seven

Merrill Lynch has lost Matt Robinson and Ramsey Jallad, marketers in its equity derivatives structured solutions group. The latest departures means seven staffers--out of a 40-strong team--have left since April, according toJoachim Willnow, head of the structured solutions group in London. He added, that Merrill has replaced six of these. Robinson is joining Morgan Stanley in a similar role and Jallad is rumored to be moving to Citigroup Private Bank.

Willnow admitted that losing seven people was not ideal, but said there are several reasons for this. Equity derivatives has performed exceptionally well this year and other banks are expanding their commitment in this area and are looking to poach Merrill staffers.

Market officials said Merrill Lynch has focused more on cash than the derivatives business and this has caused some derivatives markets to quit. Willnow said this was not a problem, but the equity derivatives group now reports to the head of global markets and investment banking rather than the head of equity anyway.

The reorganization earlier this year into four teams--pensions and insurance, origination, retail distribution and the retail hedge group--was also seen as a reason for the departures. This created competition amongst team members, noted one official. Before the reorganization marketing was carried on a country by country basis, which avoided this problem. Willnow said he recently talked to the respective heads of the teams and that team spirit was better than it had ever been.

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