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Salomon Bulks Up Equity Desk; Markets Derivatives To Funds ...

Salomon Smith Barney Australia has expanded its equity derivatives operation in Sydney over the last month with three hires and has started marketing equity derivatives to hedge funds. Luke Randell, managing director of trading and derivatives in Sydney, said, "We still think there's growth in the business." He plans to transfer additional staff for the group in the coming months as part of the buildup, but declined to elaborate on future hires or the size of the operation.

The three recent hires are: Ben Smoker, v.p. derivative sales at Deutsche Bank in Sydney, has joined as v.p. in equity derivatives sales; James Heathcote, associate v.p. of equity capital markets at Commonwealth Securities, was hired as v.p. and equity derivatives structurer, and the firm also transferred Marcus Christoe from the London office as a director of equity derivatives trading on the volatility books.

Smoker said his role is to broaden the firm's hedge fund sales coverage in Australia to now include derivative products in addition to cash equities. "Australian and regional hedge funds are still in an embryonic stage and we expect this area to grow," said Randell, commenting on why the firm expanded into derivatives coverage for hedge funds.

Christoe said he made the move from Schroder Salomon Smith Barney's portfolio trading desk in London for personal reasons, but declined further comment. The trio report to Randell.

At Deutsche Bank, Smoker reported to Nick Fennell, head of equity derivatives in Hong Kong. Fennell did not return calls. At Commonwealth, Heathcote reported to Tony Kench, chief manager of equity capital markets in Sydney. Kench said he is seeking a replacement. Heathcote confirmed the move, declining further comment.

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