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Fitch Plans Credit Hiring Spree

Fitch plans to hire six or seven collateralized debt obligation professionals for its London-based CDO rating team because of the increase in the number of deals coming to the market. Mitchell Lench, senior director in London, said it has about 15 CDOs in the pipeline this month in comparison to five or six this time last year, approximately one-third of these are synthetic or balance sheet transactions.

Lench expects the new recruits to start in the first half of next year and to come from structuring houses, investment firms or competitors. The hires will include a lawyer familiar with the International Swaps and Derivatives Association's documentation. There are currently 10 professionals in the CDO team in London. Lench said it is becoming easier for rating agencies to hire top personnel because the wage differential between the agencies and the sellside firms has decreased. He added recruits also join rating agencies for job security and to get a bird's eye view of the market.

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